The Ghent Altarpiece is the most violated work of art in the world. Thirteen times it has been vandalized, dismantled, or stolen. Why? What secrets does it hold?
Enter UNESCO investigator, Nicholas Lee, who works for the United Nations’ Cultural Liaison and Investigative Office (CLIO). Nick’s job is to protect the world’s cultural artifacts—anything and everything from countless lesser-known objects to national treasures.
When Nick travels to Belgium for a visit with a woman from his past, he unwittingly stumbles on the trail of a legendary panel from the Ghent Altarpiece, stolen in 1934 under cover of night and never seen since. Soon Nick is plunged into a bitter conflict, one that has been simmering for nearly two thousand years. On one side is the Maidens of Saint-Michael, les Vautours—the Vultures—a secret order of nuns and the guardians of a great truth. Pitted against them is the Vatican, which has wanted for centuries to both find and possess what the nuns guard. Because of Nick the maidens have finally been exposed, their secret placed in dire jeopardy—a vulnerability that the Vatican swiftly moves to exploit utilizing an ambitious cardinal and a corrupt archbishop, both with agendas of their own.
From the tranquil canals of Ghent, to the towering bastions of Carcassonne, and finally into an ancient abbey high in the French Pyrenees, Nick Lee must confront a modern-day religious crusade intent on eliminating a shocking truth from humanity’s past. Success or failure—life and death—all turn on the Omega Factor.
American author, Steve Berry, was born in 1955 in Georgia, where he eventually graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He served as a trial lawyer for 30 years, while holding elected office for 14 of those years. He was also a founding member of International Thriller Writers, where he served as co-president for three years, with a membership of nearly 4,000. Berry and his wife were very supportive of historic preservation. This interest led them to initiate History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation across the country. They have traveled far and wide with various projects to raise money for the foundation. They have raised over a million dollars by providing a writer's workshop. At this time over 3,000 students have attended the workshop.
Berry's books have been translated into 40 languages with over 22,000,000 copies in 51 countries. His works include: The Lost Order, The 14th Colony, The Patriot Threat, The Lincoln Myth, The King's Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, and several others. They are always ranked very high in the New York Times, USA Today, and other bestseller lists.