Book: The Psalter by Galen Watsoncategories: Book, Saint Malachy, Prophecy of Popes, Petrus Romanus, Vatican, Medieval Forgeries, Mystery, Saint Peter's Basilica, Religious Thriller
Galen Watsonabout this book: When I was a teenager, I read The Egyptian by Mika Waltari. I was fascinated by how he adeptly wove a historical event into an Action/Adventure fiction, filled with philosophical reflections. In high school, I was an exchange student in the French countryside, and heard about a medieval religious forgery, likely created in a monastery north of Paris in Corbie, not far from Amiens. I read the research over the years, and realized how dramatically it shifted church supremacy, in a dramatic power play that changed the church forever. It was that religio-political fight I wanted to write about.
Psalters were essentially the world's first books: handwritten medieval collections of the Psalms that usually included canticles (hymns), the Litany of the Saints, prayers, and a liturgical calendar. They were early medieval bestsellers. Every noble lady wanted one, and only the nobles could afford them. One Psalter, in particular, is almost a main character in my novel, because it hides a secret that leads the main character on a quest for the truth about the church's past, the death of his best friend, and his own beliefs.
When readers first look at the book cover or read a few pages, they immediately think Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code. But after a few chapters they realize The Psalter is quite different. It's a mixed genre religious thriller/ historical fiction that recounts a fictionalized tale of 9th century historical events that changed western religio-politics forever. That said, The Psalter is just the book for religious thriller aficionados. "This is one of my favorite sorts of books. Mr. Watson has written an exciting thriller set in the modern Vatican, with a colorful parallel story running in the past. He touches on several subjects that I find fascinating." –Patricia Frances Rowell, Harlequin Historical Novelist.
When I read a novel, I want to be entertained, of course, but I also want to learn something historically, philosophically, or be provoked. Umberto Eco's character reflected in The Name of the Rose, "Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn't ask ourselves what it says but what it means..." That's what I ask when I finish a book; and when I write, I want it to mean something.
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