The Visionary: Welcome to the Fold

Title: TheVisionary: Welcome to the Fold
Authors: Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod
Cover Artist: Reno MacLeod
Publisher: Macleodvalentine.com
Amazon:
Genre: Paranormal M/M, Fantasy
Length: 74,300 Words (213 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Summary Review: An incredible adventure with amazing visuals that smashed all of my preconceived religious notions!

THE BLURB
 
Father Marcus Ignatius Leeds, a Jesuit priest, has no idea what he’s really getting into when he arrives in Boston, Massachusetts. As a Vatican City investigator for the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, his job is to authenticate or disprove reported supernatural events, everything from bleeding statues to heavenly visions. Over and over again, he’s been disappointed to find only hopefuls with vivid imaginations or hoaxers with too much idle time on their hands.
 
While traveling the world doing God’s work, Marcus hasn’t had the time to develop close, personal relationships and as a result, he finds himself at silent odds with his monastic life. Debunking so many cases constitutes an outstanding track record in the eyes of his superiors, but in the process Marcus has lost hope of ever witnessing a true miracle. He’s begun to question the value of his profession and the worth of his solemn vows.
 
The report of a Boston teenager exhibiting the stigmata—the holy wounds of Christ—becomes Marcus’s salvation. What he finds in the wealthy Brookline neighborhood shakes the very foundation of his faith, igniting a series of events that will forever change the world—and Marcus. After years of disillusionment, he finally discovers a genuine miracle, which to his amazement brings him the love of his life.

THE REVIEW:

A word of warning:  For those readers who are religious or sensitive to religious themes, this may not be the book for you unless you can open your mind to a story that goes against all of your previously held beliefs.

Father Marcus Ignatius Leeds investigates supposed supernatural occurrences and so far his batting average is zero or 1000 depending on how you look at it. Every case he has investigated turned out to be a fraud. His latest takes him to the USA  to look into the strange situation of a young man, James Miller, who had been bleeding continuously for 21 days.  After hearing James’s story about being visited by an angel who claimed that he would meet God soon, Marcus arranged to stay at his house alone that evening. Unfortunately for Marcus there was a visitation, but not what he expected. Instead of demons or angels, a vampire named Joseph showed up at the house, and despite all of Marcus’s efforts and prayers to his Holy Father, Joseph overpowered and turned him. When Marcus recovered and realized what had happened to him and that life as he knew it was over, he was inconsolable. Being a priest, a vocation he had worked for all his life, was no longer an option as to all intents and purposes he was dead. Immediately after he revealed his new status to his superior, Cardinal Santoni, his worst fears were realized as he was excommunicated. However there was definitely a very bright side to his condition – Joseph introduced him to the wonders of sex.

Marcus needed to feed in order to survive, and Rose, a whore he had met the first day he arrived in the USA was a likely candidate. When Marcus approached her and told her his predicament, although she was concerned about her ability to service her clients, Rose was happy to oblige. Marcus then petitioned The Vatican for access to their secret records so that he could continue his investigations into supernatural phenomenon, and for his own reasons the Pope  granted his request.

I really liked this book. The world building was spectacular going back to the time of Jesus, as the authors traced the history of Christianity from the early days of the Roman Centurions. The characters reminded me of another book that I reviewed by Jaye and Reno, Messiah I, which had similar religious undertones and included well known historical figures, except that story was set in a different time. In The Visionary: Welcome to the Fold the authors did an incredible amount of research into Catholicism and the papacy, and the reconstituted St. Peter’s Basilica seemed so realistic that I felt as if I were transported there – even the terminology and the speech seemed realistic for the era.

The supporting characters were three dimensional and at times they overshadowed Marcus and Joseph.  Three of them were outstanding – Vittoria Costa, a Roman Centurion; Legion, a demon who I thought was charismatic; and Danjuma, a member of The Fold, the vampire elite, another splendid character. Major Rengel, the Pope’s closest adviser and his bodyguard, was an imposing personality . There were many other amazing historical figures in the book but you need to experience them for yourself. Trish the ghost, who was a coatroom attendant in one of the clubs visited by Marcus, was charming and I wish that she had a bigger role in the story. One character who I didn’t care for and couldn’t understand why she had such a prominent role in the book was Rose, and her POV pulled me out of the story every time. Her only reason for being in Rome was to feed Marcus, and consequently it didn’t seem logical that she would be allowed to enter the most secret and holy enclaves of the Roman Catholic Church and be entrusted with information that resided in the Vatican Secret Archives, a place  where only members of the Church’s elite are granted access. IMO the sub plot involving Rose and her boyfriend Kevin, a former undercover cop from the Boston PD, didn’t fit the rest of the story. Perhaps the anticipated sequel will explain their role.
 
The demons, vampires and angels in the final scene in the Sistene Chapel were incredible and would have been amazing on video – all of those horns, wings, fangs, claws, and tails. 🙂 There was an open ended finale to this story so  there will at least be a sequel which I’m looking forward to since the action scenes were mesmerizing. Obviously since this is a fantasy I had no problem suspending disbelief as everything I thought I knew about Jesus and his disciples was blown to smithereens. I admired the ingenuity of the plot and most of the characterizations worked for me, which wasn’t surprising since this is an area where these authors excel. I thought that Marcus’s and Joseph’s romance was realistic and the sex was certainly hot. 🙂 As for Hayden, Joseph’s and Marcus’s alternate source of food, he was a lot of fun and very sexy.
 
Another terrific book by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine. Definitely recommended!

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

4 comments

  • oooh, that sounds good –
    i’m in a bit of a McLeod/ Valentine frenzy lately, and from the sound of this, seems I need to read it.
    *sigh* so many books, so little time :crying2:

    Reply
    • Feliz

      I really loved this story and if it weren’t for Rose’s character and sub plot I definitely would have gone up in my rating.

      If you do get the book please let me know what you think.

      Reply

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