cover image The Omega Factor

The Omega Factor

Steve Berry. Grand Central, $29 (464p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2094-3

This lively standalone from bestseller Berry (the Cotton Malone series) centers on a panel stolen in 1934 from the Ghent Altarpiece, “one of the world’s great works of art, created in the early part of the fifteenth century, at the threshold of the Renaissance, by two brothers, Hubert and Jan van Eyck.” Early chapters alternate between Jan van Eyck and Nick Lee, a field operative in the present day dealing with artistic and cultural issues for UNESCO. Nick is in Ghent, Belgium, visiting his former fiancée, art restorer Kelsey Deal, who’s now a Catholic nun. Kelsey is restoring the altarpiece at the Cathedral of Saint Bavo when a fire breaks out. Nick arrives on the scene minutes later, and Kelsey orders him to chase after the vandal responsible for the blaze, who has also stolen her laptop containing images of the masterpiece. Nick and Kelsey are soon racing around France on the trail of a conspiracy linked to the Catholic church that originated 2,000 years ago. Berry once again smoothly blends action and history. Dan Brown fans will want to check this one out. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (June)