New Shroud of Turin Novel, The Chimera by Fr. J. R. Veneroso

imageAmazon’s Book Description:

What secret does the Shroud of Turin contain to justify murder? When scientists uncover a Vatican plot to discredit the Shroud of Turin, they risk their lives to find out why. Unbeknownst to all but a few people, the pope has authorized a dangerous experiment: clone Jesus. Not only are church authorities unprepared for what Jesus would say, they are less prepared for what Jesus would look like. Giving their secret project urgency is a similar experiment by a neo-Nazi cult with cloning ambitions of its own: splice the DNA of Jesus to that of Adolf Hitler.

The Author (from the back cover):

imageFr. J. R. Veneroso is a Catholic priest missioner with the Maryknoll Society. After serving twelve years in Korea, he attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and served as editor in chief for Maryknoll magazine. He is the author of several books, including God in Unexpected Places, Good News for Today, and Honor the Void, published through Orbis Books. Since 1997, he has studied the facts and controversies surrounding Catholicism’s most mysterious relic: the Shroud of Turin.

A Short Review by one purchaser:

Father Joe either has an amazingly frightful imagination or some startling inside information. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for hours.

A Longer Review by another:

Father Joe Venoroso has certainly taken his place with Father Joseph Girzone and the dearly departed Andrew Greeley with this innovative, and at times terrifying novel which manages to get into the deepest parts of this Catholic’s psyche, at least. Truth be told, he reminds me less of the two aforementioned fantastic authors and more (in this novel) of Charles Williams (Charles Williams Omnibus: War in Heaven / Many Dimensions / The Place of the Lion / Shadows of Ecstasy / The Greater Trumps / Descent into Hell / All Hallows’ Eve / Et in Sempiternum Pereant). This is Catholic fantasy, science fiction, and theology of the highest order.

To sample just a few questions from a book that might be bothersome (and revelatory at the same time) to the believer, here are a few posed in the book with a great degree of subtlety:

What if Christ was NOT the egalitarian love letter to the world we believe He was? What if He was something else?

What if He was that love letter and an institution, through scientific meddling and a genuine misunderstanding, lied to us about Him on a level that could cause about fifteen riots a la LA in the early 90’s?

What if God willed something horrendous and we knew for a fact that it was God doing so?

Though I would not speak for him, I think that Father Veneroso’s questions here are not meant to terrify us, not just that, but to awaken us out of our complacency, particularly about the state of our Church. Will we always be patriarchal caucasians determined to maintain our power? Could even the scenarios in this novel make us change? A must read for any Catholic with faith and concern left for the Church.

Hardcover $26.99, Paperback $17.15, Kindle $3.49

7 thoughts on “New Shroud of Turin Novel, The Chimera by Fr. J. R. Veneroso”

  1. There are dozens of movie scripts floating around Hollywood that have the ‘cloning Jesus from the Shroud’ set-up. The one that got closest to being greenlit a few years ago was a comedy. A friend of mine wrote a kids book using a teen-aged Jesus clone angle, Emmanuel McClue and the Mystery of the Shroud. The idea that we could ‘manufacture’ the Second Coming is tantalizing.

  2. Fr. J.V., I’d be curious to know how you came up with the inspiration for the female STURP scientist who was divorced twice/married 3 times. Perhaps you know where I’m coming from.

    1. Hi. All of my characters are fictitious products of my overactive imagination. Some are composites; others archetypes or caricatures. Dr. Linda Gramm, mother of protagonist Jeannette Gramm, represents the second largest “denomination” in the United States: “ex (as in exiled) Catholics.”

      She and her daughter represent the “chimera combination” of scientific yet spiritual. Her marital status is all too typical of many who no longer feel at home in the church.

      All the scientists in my novel are likewise fictitious.

      Beyond that, no, I don’t know where you were going! Care to elaborate?

      Joe Veneroso

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