Author: Andrew A. Boemi

Publisher: Dodd Merrill Press

ISBN: 978-0-9883229-1-2

Fact: While Michelangelo’s “Christ on the Cross” original painting no longer exists, its chalk drawing does and it now hangs in the British Museum.  Fact?  Is the chalk drawing the original chalk drawing and the same one given to someone names Vittoria Colonna?

Fact: Recipient of the chalk drawing, Vittoria Colonna existed.  Fact? Did Vittoria truly see horrifyingly ominous and grotesque demonic, human and animal faces hidden in the swirls of chalk surrounding Christ’s body?  Fact?  If she did, were they the faces of Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Fact: “The Secret Instructions of the Society of Jesus” does exist.  Fact? Does that book contain what the author suggests it does?

The “Fact/Fact?” sequence could easily continue, as much of this first-time author’s book is based on documented and factual information as well as fascinating conjecture.  What is most intriguing about Michelangelo’s Last Painting is its time span of over four hundred years, exposing a chilling revelation discovered in the faces of the original chalk drawing concealed in the “secret” book of the Jesuits which insinuates the revelation behind the attempt by Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jewish people was genuine - raising the theological dialogue of ‘good vs evil.’ 

Added to the intrigue of Michelangelo’s drawing and the missing “Secret Instructions of the Jesuits” book is a romance between notable art experts and lovers Richard Arenell and Sao Damrey who are given a mission by a mysterious software mogul/art collector simply known as ‘Manchurian.”  Woven into the complicated plot are a variety of Jesuit priests, Roman Catholic nuns, the President of the United States, the United Nations, unusual technological security devices (camera in a contact lens), hidden rooms, compelling action, suspense, unexpected violence, and a fascinating introduction to how art historians determine age/authenticity of paintings.  Unfortunately, poorly executed dialogue, trivial data and a proclivity to time-jumps between chapters without notation of dates in every chapter leave readers confused about which ‘story’ they are following.

Not only could this have been a well written novel, but an excellent one had a skilled editor been employed prior to publication - for example, the above-mentioned ‘confusion’ could easily have been eradicated had each chapter noted the date/location and extraneous commentary been deleted and dialogue throughout the book had been tightened.

Boemi writes: “There is a true story surrounding the writing of this book.”  How unfortunate that the author did not include that story somewhere in the book: the Preface, an Addendum.   Hopefully he will do so in subsequent printings of the book.  

As for the author’s passionate belief in the meaning behind Michelangelo’s last painting, the question is: does the book have a plausible story-line or is it a defensive plot to undergird the author’s thesis?   Each reader must determine, but for this reviewer, the phrase “all things are possible” comes to mind. If so, then it is a frightening possibility that Boemi has put before his readers in a unique plot to consider.

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