Mystery Suspense Thriller
Tags: Holy Grail, Scotland, Caithness Castles, Knights Templar, Archaeology, Treasure hunting
Archaeologist Ben Harris finds clues pointing to a medieval shipwreck while digging on the Caithness estate of Sir Ranald Sinclair, at the same time falling in love with Fran Sinclair, his wayward daughter. Sir Ranald’s family mausoleum is raided by a Russian Grail fanatic on August 12th. He was inadvertently alerted to the potential of the building by Ben who met him at a conference. Ben and two American oilmen follow the villains to Paris, where Fran, who had been abducted, is rescued and most of the treasure recovered, apart from a ruby encrusted chalice, which the thieves believe is the Holy Grail.
Sir Ranald finds out that his chalice cannot be the Holy Grail and has been sold on to the Vatican. Ben has to rescue him from Portofino in Italy, where his secret deal with the Catholic Church runs into trouble. Ben concludes that Sir Ranald’s chalice is a decoy and starts looking seriously for the Grail on Sinclair territory, at the same time fully developing his relationship with Fran.
Archaeological detective work by Ben uncovers a chamber cut into the cliff opposite Old Sinclair Castle. A plain chalice that looks more likely to be the Holy Grail is found but the operation attracts the attention of an assorted mix of Grail fanatics. Ben realises the impossibility of keeping such an iconic object in private hands and just after his wedding to Fran, arranges for the cup to be delivered into the safe keeping of the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh.
One of the rival Grail hunters finds a lead box containing a document, written by Pierre de St Clair in 1307 after the Templar suppression. It describes his journey from France and the hiding of the treasure in Caithness, giving the cup an excellent provenance.