I became interested in the Shroud of Turin while researching my first book, Faith On Trial, non-fiction, written for people who long to believe…but just can’t get there. The Shroud shook my world. It’s a fourteen foot piece of linen owned by the Vatican and imprinted with the image of a man who has been crucified, bearing markings of blood and wounds exactly as described for Jesus in the four Gospels. New evidence suggests it dates back to the first century. During a rare exhibition of the ancient cloth in Turin, Italy last May which my husband Jimmy and I attended, here is what Pope Benedict had to say about the ancient cloth: “The shroud is an icon written in blood: the blood of a man who has been flagellated, crowned with thorns, crucified, and wounded in his right rib.”
No one knows how the detailed 3-D image was created—science has found no explanation. It’s a complete mystery. Best guess so far by experts who’ve spent their entire careers studying the Shroud is that the image might have been caused by a fierce blast of energy or radiation occurring instantaneously. In the front of Secret of the Shroud we’ve included a picture of the face of the man in the image. When you look at it, ask yourself this question. Why have we suddenly discovered so much evidence for the authenticity of this miraculous cloth just now, at this particular time in human history?
After years of research for Faith On Trial, I became convinced that the Shroud was actually the burial cloth of Jesus, and developed a passionate desire to provide that evidence and much more to readers who might not otherwise have access. Secret of the Shroud, originally titled Walk Back The Cat, is fast-paced story, but the information on the Shroud buried in the mystery is factual. By the time I begin actually writing the book, the plot and characters had (as usual) been developing in my mind for several years, beginning with two particular newspaper reports that caught my attention and just wouldn’t let go.
The first was a report about ten or twelve years ago of a child forced to deal with a sudden terrible loss, a wound that could—without the right guidance—infect his personality bone deep. I wondered what had happened to this child over the years as a result of this event—you know—the old ‘what if?’ question. This news report was a shocking story setting up a situation that demanded answers, even in the onslaught of bad news we get twenty-four seven today. So, out of this story the first character in Secret of the Shroud was born.
The second story was reported around the same time after an amazing discovery of certain faint images and ‘debris’ on the Shroud of Turin. I followed it in my on-going research, and over the years watched as this particular evidence was tested, grew more detailed, and was finally verified in peer-reviewed scientific journals. It is credible, and frankly astounding, but the strange thing was is that it hasn’t garnered much attention in the mainstream media, and I wonder why.
Now the plot was clear. And so, Little Guy and the Archbishop, Wesley Bright, and the flower girl, Hannah, and Emily and Martin, and the beggar TeeBo, and Leo were born. Secret of the Shroud is fiction, and as all my writing, it explores the human spirit and questions of faith that sometimes plague us in the dark of night. This is a book about making a hard choice, where you have everything to lose.