Part thriller, part visionary quest, Kathleen McGowan's The Expected One plunges the reader into yet another search for the real Mary Magdalene. In the novel, American author Maureen Paschal seeks verifiable facts when researching her book about women maligned by traditional historians. But following the trail of Mary Magdalene soon takes her on a personal journey as well. In Jerusalem, Maureen slips into a compelling vision of a woman who must be Mary. Haunting dreams follow, pointing to clues about Mary and Maureen's relationship to her. Then, a stranger, the eccentric Berenger Sinclair, invites Maureen to a party at his estate in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, enticing her with a promise of information about her father, who died under mysterious circumstances when Maureen was a child. But she meets resistance from her cousin, Jesuit priest Peter Healy. While Maureen doesn't share Peter's love of the Church, he's her only living relative and protector. Sinclair makes the outrageous claim that Maureen is the prophesied Expected One, a woman of the lineage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, the only one who can find the missing gospels that Mary wrote. Sinclair belongs to a secret society that has traced Mary's lineage through many famous descendants. But other societies exist in the area, with ruthless members ready to kill to stop Sinclair's group and destroy the elusive treasure that could redefine Christianity. Interwoven with Maureen's adventures are glimpses of Mary and snippets of her hidden gospels. As the truth emerges, the narrative moves to Mary herself and offers one more perspective on this enigmatic figure. In an afterword, McGowan thanks Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, whose 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail popularized the idea that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and that the couple's descendants are alive today and who attempted to sue Dan Brown for using their claims in The Da Vinci Code. The Expected One is an intriguing take on Mary's story. Janet Fisher writes from Cottage Grove, Oregon.

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