Tales from the Vatican Vaults
by David V. Barrett
Edited by David V. Barrett
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Robinson Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781472111654
Date: 06 August 2015
In a universe where Pope John Paul I lived for many years, the Vatican Vaults were opened. This collection contains 28 stories of what was found. Tales of miracles and demons abound intertwined with real problems. The dedication creates the setting and links all of the stories collected.
There are way too many stories in this collection to discuss in this small space. There were a couple of stories that stood out. Two of the stories, "Gardening" by Stephanie Potter and "The She" by Terry Grimwood, dealt with alternate Genesis traditions and discuss the fall of man and the root of knowledge and evil. K.J. Parker's story also tells of good and evil and the tough choices left to individuals.
I was drawn to this collection by the hidden history aspect of the collection. The idea of secrets held by the church are common. It even makes sense to a degree. Hiding the truth is better than having bad news spread about. The church is known to have hidden the seriousness of the molestation problem, so there might be other hidden gems, and I wanted to see what this group of authors thought were the most scintillating tales hidden from the public.
I struggled a bit to get started. Part of that was the lack of knowledge for some of the earlier tales. The stories are set chronologically with the oldest stories told first. As the stories got closer to the present the easier time I had relating. Some of the latest tales dealt with different takes on real crises such as the child molestation problem which was well done by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I also was coming off reading a novel that dealt with fallen angels. The shift from that story to these caused a bit of dissonance.
Fans of Dan Brown should find something to like in this collection. Not that there is a direct comparison to his work and these, but there is the air of mystery and plenty of secrets revealed which falls into the scope of the stories he's told. As a series of related but stand-alone stories, this collection is accessible to readers with little familiarity with Catholicism.