Books // The Phial

THE PHIAL

Medical Thriller

Alex Michaelson, MD and archaeologist Claudia Diaz, PhD race across the globe to save the world from a mysterious pandemic released when one of Catholicism’s most sacred relics, the Phial, is pierced during scientific analysis. Also known as the Holy Blood, the Phial is a Byzantine-era perfume bottle believed by some to contain the blood of Christ wiped from His body by Joseph of Arimathea after the Crucifixion. Since being looted from Constantinople in the Eleventh Century during the Fourth Crusade, the Phial has been on display in the Basilica of Bruges in Belgium.

Claudia is Chilean, an orphan raised in a convent run by the ultra-orthodox Catholic sect Opus Dei. Her parents were murdered by the regime of dictator Alberto Pinochet financed by Opus Dei and she’s driven to bring down the Catholic Church. Her plan is to prove that the Resurrection never occurred and she’s convinced the proof is inside the Phial. Alex is restless in his career and struggling with the end of his marriage. He’s treating a man dying of a mysterious infection when he’s approached by Father John, a Catholic priest from the Basilica in Bruges. The priest wants Alex’s help treating a man in Bruges who has the same malady, but refuses to tell Alex more until Alex accompanies him to the basilica. Unbeknownst to Alex or Claudia, Father John is a man with a complicated past. He was exiled to the basilica ten years before after being accused of a sexual impropriety. He had given up hope of being transferred until contacted by Opus Dei with a secret proposition. It is Father John who brings Alex and Claudia together, but why?

Alex’s patient in Los Angeles and the patient in Bruges were the scientists involved in the accident that pierced the Phial’s case. Two parish priests were also present at the time of the accident, but remain well. This proves to the basilica’s tyrannical Cardinal Philippe that the contagion is a curse sent from God as punishment for defiling the relic. Is the cardinal right, or is there a scientific explanation? The answer is in the true tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. To find the tomb and the cure, Alex, Claudia, and Father John will have to follow an ancient map hidden inside the Phial. The map will take them from Glastonbury England to the Holy Land and force them not only to confront each other, but themselves.

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