The Secret Supper

A Novel

The Secret Supper

Translated by: Alberto Manguel
Milan, 1497: Leonardo da Vinci is completing his masterpiece, The Last Supper. Pope Alexander VI is determined to execute him after realizing that the painting contains clues to a baffling -- and blasphemous -- message, which he is determined to decode. The Holy Grail and the Eucharistic Bread are missing, there is no meat on the table and, shockingly, the apostles are portraits of well-known heretics -- none of them depicted with halos. And why has the artist painted himself into the scene with his back turned toward Jesus? The clues to Leonardo's greatest puzzle are right before your eyes....
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743287654 | 
  • March 2007

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Javier Sierra: The Secret Supper

At the center of this atmospheric historical thriller is a unique vision of Leonardo da Vinci's genius.

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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Aside from his skill at solving codes and puzzles, what other methods does Father Agostino use in his attempt to uncover the identity of the Soothsayer and decipher the enigma of The Last Supper? How much does he owe to chance? What is the significance of Leonardo da Vinci solving the riddle written by the Soothsayer?
2. Were you able to guess the identity of the Soothsayer before it was revealed in the narrative? Once the identity was revealed, did you see clues and indicators that you had missed while reading the story?
3. Father Agostino and Master Torriani "both believed that the Soothsayer had left us this clue [the seven-line verse] in the hope that the Secretariat of Keys would solve it and communicate with him" (49). The Soothsayer had ample opportunity to reveal himself to Father Agostino after the inquisitor arrived in Milan. Why did he continue to hide his identity from Father Agostino?
4. Father Alessandro became "a dear friend" (79) to Father Agostino. Do you believe Father Agostino would have thought of the other man as a friend if he had been aware of Father Alessandro's true religious affiliation? Why or why not?
5. Why are the Dominican leaders so concerned that The Last Supper might contain hidden symbolism? How (and why) was art used to communicate ideas and beliefs to the people during the Renaissance?
6. Discuss Elena Crivelli's role in the story. Despite Leonardo's warnings, B see more

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About the Author

Javier Sierra
© Círculo de Lectores-Joan Borras

Javier Sierra

Javier Sierra, whose works have been translated into thirty-five languages, is the author of The Lost Angel, The Lady in Blue, and the New York Times bestselling novel The Secret Supper. One of the most accomplished authors on the Spanish literary scene, Sierra studied journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid and soon after started working for mass media in Spain. He published his first nonfiction book in 1995 and his first novel in 1998. Between 1998 and 2005 he edited the monthly magazine Más Allá de la Ciencia (Beyond Science) and directed his own TV show El otro lado de la realidad (The Other Side of Reality) in Telemadrid, Spain. A native of Teruel, Spain, he currently lives in Málaga.

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