Ado and the Dawn's Awakening
by Maria das Graças Rafael Pereira

"There are seven positive chakras and seven negative ones, to which the Catholic Church cleverly associated the seven deadly sins, occupying the body’s lower part."

Maria attends her recently deceased aunt’s funeral in the small Brazilian town of Cataguases in 1997. An angelic vision informs her that she must take part in a test—a mission regarding a “chalice” of redemption. She decides to stay instead of returning to Sao Paulo with her family and soon encounters Jose Soares, a man who works with lepers. Later, a young man rushes in saying he just shot his wife in a jealous rage over her unfaithfulness. The Brazilian police are called in but cannot find a body. It turns out that Rita, the supposedly murdered wife, actually faked her death and is now living with a Greek millionaire who wants her to help him steal a priceless replica of the Holy Grail, the chalice Jesus used in the last supper. Maria coordinates with Interpol and infiltrates a local Christian cult that would also like to steal this chalice and melt it down for money.

Part thriller, part religious fiction with spiritual autobiographical reflection, this short novel reads quickly. It is told in a poetic voice with many asides on the meaning and purpose of life interspersed with the unfolding of the intricate, international plot regarding the sacred chalice. There is an entire chapter devoted to Maria’s investigation of philosophy, psychology, history, and literature. Other chapters delve into the elements of the straightforward plot regarding protecting the golden chalice from being stolen. Told in the first person, the author cites Saint John of the Cross, the Spanish poet and Carmelite mystic who penned The Dark Night of the Soul, as being the background inspiration for the novel. There are a few Brazilian idiomatic phrases that don’t quite fit into English comfortably. However, for the most part, this Brazilian writer’s command of language is both thought-provoking and poetic.

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