Title: TheVisionary: Welcome to the Fold
Authors: Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod
Cover Artist: Reno MacLeod
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!
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.
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.