cover image The Begotten: A Novel of the Gifted

The Begotten: A Novel of the Gifted

Lisa Tawn Bergren, . . Berkley, $23.95 (367pp) ISBN 978-0-425-21016-1

Bergren's experience as a Christian historical fiction author (God Gave Us You ) serves her well in this religious thriller, the first of a trilogy set in 14th-century Italy. Fragments of a mysterious long-lost letter written by Saint Paul are surfacing that speak of a group known as the Gifted, who will gather to fight the powers of encroaching darkness. With the Inquisition in full swing, Satan has sent his minion, the Sorcerer, to take over the world. Father Piero, a Dominican priest, has found the first of the Gifted, Lady Daria D'Angelo, who can bring the dead back to life. Daria uses her gift on the dying knight Gianni de Capezzana, who swears fealty to Daria and joins her in Siena, where the group gains strength and numbers. Soon, the Gifted and the forces of the underworld are locked in mortal combat. CBA readers will find much to cheer, but others will also enjoy this classic battle between good and evil. Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings , but without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings. (Aug.)