The Magdalene Veil

Book 3 of The Magdalene Chronicles

An old World War II diary filled with cryptic clues launches two friends on an adventure around the world . . . but their path is fraught with danger and deception . . . and the treasure they seek can change everything for good—or evil.

Father Michael Dominic and his journalist friend Hana Sinclair are off to follow a tantalizing lead: a Nazi journal revealing a holy relic’s hiding place. The pair believes the book could lead them to a sacred cloth Christ used to cleanse his face, which according to legend now bears his image — a living record of the Son of God’s true appearance.

The diary propels them on a whirlwind adventure from Jerusalem, to Rome, to Buenos Aires. But as they unravel an ancient mystery, they run afoul of a nefarious sect determined to use the Magdalene veil for its own ends. Can Michael and Hana outsmart their ruthless adversaries and bring the artifact home to the Church, or will the revival of Aryan ambition destroy the long-lost relic of Christ?

If you love fast-paced novels grounded in history, grab this non-stop action-packed thriller! McAvoy’s fans say his “attention to detail makes the story utterly believable, leaving the reader wondering what is real and what is fiction.”

Published April 1, 2021

Reader Reviews for "The Magdalene Veil"

“I am so glad I stumbled upon Gary McAvoy’s first book in this series, The Magdalene Deception. Since reviewing that, I have been lucky enough to get early eyes on the following two books. In my review of the first book, I said I liked it better than Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. That opinion has not changed. It is clear that McAvoy has done a great deal of research and it is shown lovingly as he describes locations, items, and history. Of course, there is the nature of the imaginary with these conspiracies—can one really replicate the blood of Christ from a veil? But the story is knit together so well, that one can actually imagine these to be 100% real. One of my favourite elements of this series is the relationships. Often, when men and women are thrust together in a book the default is that they fall madly in love, whether they should or shouldn’t. I said this of The Magdalene Reliquary, and I’ll say it with The Magdalene Veil: the platonic relationships are stronger than some romantic relationships I’ve seen in books. Of course, anyone with a romantic bone in their body may wish for more romance, but we have that in the delightful Swiss Guard lovers, Karl and Lukas. The bonds of friendship surrounding the group of adventurers were clear, uncomplicated, and true. I loved it and I wanted to be their friend too—although I’m certainly not as brave!

While this book may signal the end of the story featuring Michael Dominic, Hana Sinclair, and the rest, there is a glimmer of hope in the last few lines of the book that might be winking at us. Perhaps we haven’t seen the last of the priest, the reporter, and the Swiss Guards after all, and if there’s more, I’ll be first in line to read their stories.” — Kim Cheel, Alberta, Canada

“McAvoy is a master at taking actual historical events, real historical people, legends and traditions, and using them all to create exciting and informative plots. This novel revolves around the legend of Veronica’s veil, a veil said to be used to wipe the blood and sweat from Jesus’ face as he carried his cross.

McAvoy takes that legend and combines it with Heinrich Himmler’s obsession of obtaining valuable archaeological artifacts, including religious relics. A contemporary neo-Nazi group in Argentina is determined to carry out the original Nazi plan of developing a pure Aryan race, using the ancient relic. A Jesuit priest and a journalist are just as determined to deliver the relic to the Vatican.

I really enjoyed this action packed novel. McAvoy has crafted a realistic plot that is full of historical and contemporary details. A great deal of research lays the foundation for the narrative. McAvoy provides amazing descriptions of the settings and does very well with character development. His writing style is captivating. That writing style and the extensive research and attention to detail make this novel engaging as well as informative.

I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy a plot based on actual events and people, then projecting them to possible contemporary events. The neo-Nazi connection is very timely considering recent political turmoil. I really like McAvoy’s Author’s Note where he informs us what is history and what is fiction.

This is the third in a series but reads rather well on its own. You can read my reviews of the previous books in the series: The Magdalene Deception, The Magdalene Reliquary. I’m sure there will be a sequel and I’ll be looking for it.”  My rating: 5/5 stars. — Joan Nienhuis, Amazon Vine Reviewer

The Magdalene Veil, the final installment of Gary McAvoy’s three-book series, ‘The Magdalene Chronicles,’ finds McAvoy again nibbling at the fringe of ancient history, the hidden machinery of the Catholic Church and its tortured intertwining with the Third Reich, the persistence of neo-Nazism in the contemporary world, the crosscurrents of international politics and terrorism, and ultimately the limits and permissions of Faith. The result is a fine novel that—for want of a ready-made genre to fit it into—may be classified ‘Ecclesiastical Espionage.’

McAvoy populates his novel with the same interesting crew he birthed in The Magdalene Deception. the premiere book of this series: a young American priest working in the Vatican with expertise in decoding and preserving ancient religious documents, an investigative French reporter with ties to the world of Swiss banking and the upper echelon of the French government, a couple of boyish but coolly efficient Vatican Swiss guards, and a terrific villain in the person of—well, you have to read the book to find that out. Even the Pope himself is called onstage for a cameo. Like any good team, the core individuals are collectively proficient in any number of arcane, practical, and complimentary skills they must employ to get themselves out of the serious hot water McAvoy enjoys dunking them into. While the plot is set ostensibly in Rome within the perlieu of the Vatican Archives, the Eternal City functions primarily as the hub of a plot wheel whose spokes extend into exotic locales throughout the globe.

A book like this lives and dies by the credibility of the detail it offers of the world the characters inhabit, and McAvoy liberally salts the story with well-researched and finely-observed detail. Like any self-respecting James Bond adventure, The Magdalene Veil brims with haut monde name/brand-dropping, from añejo ports and costly time pieces to the amenities of private jet travel, from the protocols of archival document preservation to the preferred tea of the President of France, from purring Bentleys to inflatable military assault craft, from modern weaponry to how the atmosphere of the Vatican’s subterranean Secret Archives is regulated, and so on. McAvoy handles it all with a casual familiarity that tethers the wilder romps of the plot to a credible reality.

Depending on one’s religious/spiritual orientation, the book’s ‘revelations’ regarding the machinations of the Catholic Church can register as harmless entertainment, scandalous heresy, or business-as-usual.  But provocative they surely are.

In short, a recommended read.” — Philippe Shallat, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

“If you want to read a novel that has it all, look no further because Gary McAvoy’s beautifully crafted prose brings the reader front and center into the unfolding of his latest thriller, The Magdalene Veil, a treasured masterpiece of literature you will want to hold in your hands and keep on your bookshelf! The Magdalene Veil is edgy, complex, emotional, terrifying, gut-wrenching, sad, poignant, smart, and filled with intrigue and mystery.

Gary McAvoy is a writer of extraordinary facility and aptitude. His novels in general are all multi-layered and rife with excruciatingly well-researched historical facts, but in The Magdalene Veil Mr. McAvoy shows that he has honed the craft of story-telling to new heights. Veil begins with minute details of the death of Christ, then moves to the Nazis, one of the most heinous, evil, and horrific times in mankind’s history, and culminates in the inevitable probability that there will always be a faction of mankind, the neo-Nazis, who will corrupt, commit and/or ensure present-day abominations and perversions of scientific advancements in the use of DNA if their nefarious intentions are not brought into the light of day for the rest of mankind to stop. This final blockbuster novel of The Magdalene Chronicles series is fast paced, exceptionally well-written (and that is saying something about Mr. McAvoy’s ability to pen a novel, since he is a writer of superior and superb craftsmanship in this regard), and one that will have the reader unable to set it aside until every last word to the very last page has been read…

Mr. McAvoy’s characters are always interesting – some are calculating, evil, treacherous, and smart, while others are brilliant, honorable, determined and kind. And there is no regurgitation of character traits or plotlines from novel to novel, oh no, each and every individual he introduces to the reader is a full-bodied, carefully crafted and unique person, integral to telling the storyline and the evolution of his thrilling plots. It takes a well-honed talent and hours and hours of incredibly intense work to reach such a pinnacle, but Mr. McAvoy has done just that in a monumentally short amount of time.

Without a doubt, Veil is a thrilling and exciting read, and yet as the horrors and unspeakable atrocities committed by the Nazis are recalled within this novel, Mr. McAvoy reminds his readers to never forget the obscene intentions and actions of an entire nation caught up in the terror and fear created by Nazi malevolence and hatred. In reading through the horrific descriptions of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, Mr. McAvoy exhibits extreme compassion and sensitivity for the victims and survivors and their families throughout this novel. He does not just present cold hard facts of these crimes and their victims, he broaches each narrative with the utmost respect and solemnity for the agony, tortures and torments endured during the actual crimes themselves, and acknowledges the total alteration these abominations forever imprinted on humanity, all the while perceiving the enormity of the debt to be paid by mankind for their suffering. This novel demands that we remain vigilant to never allow a repetition because the insidious neo-Nazi movement is alive today.

If I can sum up my experience reading this novel into one word, it would have to be “Perfection!” — Jeanne Jabour, Esq., Massachusetts

“This is the third book in the series: The Magdelene Deception, The Magdalene Reliquary, and now, The Magdalene Veil. This time the priest and the journalist, Hana, have some very treacherous foes, the neo-Nazis of Bariloche. This is a city in Argentina where many German Nazis settled after the war. They want the veil for their own evil purposes. They intend to produce pure Aryan children and indoctrinate them through education in Nazi propaganda. [Dr. Josef] Mengele’s assistant is still alive and in his 90’s. The intention is to extract Christ’s DNA from the blood on the veil and inject it into pure Aryan children. [The Nazis] contend that Christ was of Aryan lineage. Michael and Hana are amazed to find that an old enemy, the corrupt Cardinal Dante, is involved. He was sent to Argentina after some wrongdoings in Rome.

They are again assisted in their quest by two Swiss Guards and a couple of Gypsies we have met in previous books. Interpol and the Mossad covert operations branch are drawn into the search. Who will find the veil? Will it end up as a sacred artifact in the Vatican? Will the neo-Nazis use it for profane purposes, or will it be sold to a wealthy Russian collector?

This was a tense, thrilling, and suspenseful story. It was so well written and researched that I found myself pausing to Google some true historical events and try to sort facts from fiction. The author has added some references at the end of the book to let us know what fictional parts he inserted, but it was all seamless and believable. The German city of Bariloche in Argentina and Rome’s city were well described and gave an immersive, realistic, vibrant sense of place…

Recommended for those who enjoyed the previous books in the series and readers who want an intense action-adventure with compelling characters…” — Carolyn Walsh, Reviewer