Daniel Silva, The Order (2020)
If there were an award for the best opening chapter of a fiction, including characterization, dialogue, plot and theme, the first chapter of The Order would be in the running. Daniel Silva, after all, is no amateur in beginning a novel that feels that it has been recorded by cameras, microphones and probes into each characters mind. The initial scene in The Order suggests something tragic has happened at the Vatican. The chapter’s main character, Archbishop Luigi Donati, fears the worst. It turns out his mentor, Pope Paul VII, is dead and the circumstances are suspicious.
Thus begins a narrative featuring the Church of Rome and the Church’s most trusted Jew––Gabriel Allon. The complexity, including a fictional account of the origins of the Church, is portrayed realistically, with verve and in a tasteful manner, considering Allon’s role, must represent a heresy to millions.