The Five Best Religious Thrillers of All Time

For this list, we’re defining a ‘religious thriller’ as a pulse-pounding mystery, conspiracy or quest that uses religious artifacts, secrets or clergy at the core of the story. We chose not to be constrained in our criteria by claims of religious accuracy, Biblical or otherwise. After all, even the most devout authors often take liberties with commonly held beliefs in their storylines.

Here are five great religious thriller books that have stuck with us in recent years. As we encounter more, we’ll expand this into a top 10 list.

Sanctus

By Simon Toyne

In the oldest inhabited place on earth, atop a mountain known as the Citadel, a Vatican-like city-state towers above the city of Ruin in modern-day Turkey.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B007MXCH1S” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”//ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NkVbN–dL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”bestthricom-20″ width=”111″]Now, thanks to media coverage of a climber’s assent, the eyes of the whole world are on a group that has prized its secrets above all things.

For the Sancti—the monks living inside the Citadel—this could mean the end of everything they have built and protected for millennia . . . and they will stop at nothing to keep what is theirs.

For American reporter Liv Adamsen, driven by the memory of a tragic loss, an earth-shaking discovery awaits that will change everything . . .

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Templar Salvation

By Raymond Khoury

In 1310, Templar knight Conrad of Tripoli stumbled on a trove of writings documenting the early days and divisions of Christianity.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0451234278″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”//ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kn3GH2lFL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”bestthricom-20″ width=”104″]The Catholic Church has kept this material hidden since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, fearful that its release would undermine the church’s authority and rock the foundations of Christian belief.

In the present, Mansoor Zahed, an Iranian motivated by revenge for the CIA killing of his family in the 1950s, is bent on finding the trove and releasing it to undermine Western religion and stability.

Meanwhile, FBI special agent Sean Reilly visits the Vatican on a quest to find a document that may help in his effort to rescue his love interest, Tess Chaykin, who’s been kidnapped. The constant suspense, ever-mounting body count, and interesting historical lore will keep readers turning the pages.

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The Sword of Moses

By Dominic Selwood

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0992633206″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”//ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rWzhwA2rL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”bestthricom-20″ width=”107″]When former MI6 agent turned archaeologist Dr Ava Curzon is engaged by American intelligence to track down an African militia claiming to hold the Ark of the Covenant, she is plunged into a world where nothing is what it seems.

Her breakneck descent into the shadowy realm of dark biblical magic hurls her across continents and into the opaque worlds of the Knights Templar, freemasons, occultists, and extremist neo-Nazis, pushing her mentally and physically to the limits.

As the plot twists and turns across the centuries, she requires all her skills to solve a trail of ancient clues leading her inexorably towards a terrifying ritual. Taking centre stage, she faces the ultimate battle against an age-old evil she must stop at all costs.

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Bloodline: A Sigma Force Novel

By James Rollins
Galilee, 1025. Infiltrating an ancient citadel, a Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure long hidden within the fortress’s labyrinth: the Bachal Isu — the staff of Jesus Christ — a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that promises to change humankind forever.
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A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman. Commander Gray Pierce is enlisted for a covert rescue mission into the African jungle. The woman is no rich tourist: she’s Amanda Gant-Bennett, daughter of the U.S. president.
Suspicious that the kidnapping masks a far more nefarious plot, Gray must confront a shadowy cabal which has been manipulating events throughout history…and now challenges the current presidency.
For this unique mission, SIGMA is aided by a pair of special operatives with unique talents: former Army Ranger Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane. But what should be a straightforward rescue turns into a fiery ambush and a deadly act of betrayal, as Gray and his team discover that the hostage is a pawn in a shattering act of terrorism with dark repercussions. And the danger is only beginning…
Halfway around the world, a firebombing at a fertility clinic in South Carolina exposes a conspiracy that goes back centuries…a scheme that lies within our genetic code. With time against them, SIGMA must race to save an innocent unborn baby whose very existence raises questions about the nature of humanity, asking:
Could you live forever?
Would you live forever?

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Columbus Affair

By Steve Berry

Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan has written hard-hitting articles from hot spots around the world. But when one of his stories from the Middle East is exposed as a fraud, his professional reputation crashes and burns. Now he lives in virtual exile—haunted by bad decisions and a shocking truth he can never prove: that his downfall was a deliberate act of sabotage by an unknown enemy.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0061785660″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”//ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419570f%2BcXL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”bestthricom-20″ width=”89″]But before Sagan can end his torment with the squeeze of a trigger, fate intervenes in the form of an enigmatic stranger. This stranger forces Sagan to act—and his actions attract the attention of the Magellan Billet, a top-secret corps of the United States Justice Department that deals with America’s most sensitive investigations.

Sagan suddenly finds himself caught in an international incident, the repercussions of which will shudder not only Washington, D.C., but also Jerusalem. Coaxed into a deadly cat-and-mouse game, unsure who’s friend and who’s foe, Sagan is forced to Vienna, Prague, then finally into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica—where his survival hinges on his rewriting everything we know about Christopher Columbus.

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Honorable Mention: virtually every Dan Brown book ever written!

Bella Wright

Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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