There have been many biographies on Francis of Assisi but none as controversial as this historical true-crime about the theft of his relics.
Saint Francis was more famous in his lifetime than people such as Albert Einstein or Nelson Mandela in more recent times. His wild adolescent years already make for exciting reading, but his story becomes even more intriguing when he turns his back on that dissolute life. Gripped by intense religious visions, Francis chooses a life of poverty and care for his fellow beings. In a mediaeval world filled with horrific wars, deadly diseases and clerical corruption, he develops into the symbol of peace and all good in mankind, respected by kings, emperors, popes and even sultans. No wonder that already during his lifetime he was regarded as a saint. This is the familiar story of Francis. However, it is not the whole story. Only few people are aware that following his death in 1226 a secret battle commenced to possess his corpse.
Today, according to official records, the remains of Saint Francis are safely in the basilica of Assisi where they are at the center of a multi-million tourist and pilgrim industry. Dutch investigative journalist Karl Hammer, however, has discovered that although there are bones in the tomb, they are not those of Saint Francis. The real body was stolen and replaced with that of a nameless corpse, possibly a leprous woman.
After three years of intense investigation, aided by experts from around the world, Karl Hammer has now fully reconstructed the events surrounding the relic’s robbery. His book presents a compelling true story of the political and religious intrigue that continues until this day. With its revelations it presents some challenging questions as the basilica is Vatican soil and the pope therefore ultimately responsible for its content and the multi- million business surrounding it.
English rights available; contact Dutch publisher Elmar