Rumors rising out of the Yucatan jungle report healings and miracles attributed to a holy relic. Father Pablo Diego Corellas discovers that even his own parishioners are making secret pilgrimages to the decrepit plantation where it is held. There, Doña Josefa, a mysterious woman who is either mystic or mad, possesses an artifact that she claims is a fragment of the robe worn by Christ at his trial. Guarded by armed Mayan farmers, she holds sway over an ever-growing number of pilgrims desperate for the healing power of the Purple Robe. Much against his own wishes, young Father Pablo is dispatched to the interior to investigate, while a police captain and a vacationing American couple make plans of their own for the robe. But when the relic is stolen, they soon discover that miracles have unforeseen consequences, and that no one is beyond their reach.
The newest novel by David Dean is quite a departure from his previous book, The Thirteenth Child. The Purple Robe is the story of a reluctant priest in Mexico whose flock is straying from the Church to a strange place of healing. He attributes it to his lack of confidence in his own prowess at the pulpit.
The story is not overly religious nor is it blasphemous. No matter your religion, you can read this book with a clear conscience. It mixes modern skepticism, ancient Mayan magic and timeless Catholicism to weave a first-rate tale that enthralls the reader and makes them think.
It has an air of mystery and a very relatable main character, for who among us has not doubted themselves and their life choices? There are also great subplots, like the police chief and the American tourists, and the stories of the parishioners in Father Pablo's church.
Being set in Mexico also gives out a certain appeal and sense of authenticity, as opposed to it being set in America or even Europe. There is a great respect for Catholicism in Mexico not found anywhere else, all while Mexico deals with severe violence on a daily basis (as mentioned in the book).
Mr. Dean took a risk writing this and the risk paid off. This is a great book!
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