The Empress Holds The Key

A historical mystery thriller (Jack Rogan Mysteries Book 1)

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
622 Pages
Reviewed on 09/29/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Gabriel Farago is the international, bestselling and multi-award-winning Australian author of the Jack Rogan mysteries and thrillers series for the thinking reader.

As a lawyer with a passion for history and archaeology, Gabriel had to wait for many years before being able to pursue another passion—writing—in earnest. However, his love of books and storytelling started long before that.

‘I remember as a young boy reading biographies and history books with a torch under the bed covers,’ he recalls, ‘and then writing stories about archaeologists and explorers the next day, instead of doing homework. Whilst I regularly got into trouble for this, I believe we can only do well in our endeavours if we are passionate about the things we love; for me, writing has become a passion.’

Born in Budapest, Gabriel grew up in post-War Europe, and after fleeing Hungary with his parents during the Revolution in 56, he went to school in Austria before arriving in Australia as a teenager. This allowed him to become multi-lingual and feel ‘at home’ in different countries and diverse cultures. Shaped by a long legal career and experiences spanning several decades and continents, his is a mature voice that speaks in many tongues.
Gabriel holds degrees in literature and law, speaks several languages and takes research and authenticity very seriously. Inquisitive by nature, he studied Egyptology and learned to read the hieroglyphs. He travels extensively and visits all of the locations mentioned in his books.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Eeva Lancaster for Readers' Favorite

The Empress Holds the Key begins in 1944 with the scene where two Jewish boys were taken and murdered by high-ranking Nazi officers. A picture of this gruesome event falls into the hands of Jack Rogan and this ignites a quest to identify and prosecute this war criminal... and something else... but nobody knows exactly what yet. Clue upon clue is uncovered as they go deeper into the mystery of the unknown officer in the picture, who carried a most strange violin. From Nazis to the Holocaust to Egypt, back to the legend of King Solomon and the Knights Templar, we are taken on this quest to find something that will not be clear until the last part of the story. A relic that could ruin Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church? Something the Templars protected and died for...

Gabriel Farago is a fine writer who can weave several story lines and make them come together in a satisfying conclusion. The history satisfied my fascination with forbidden and hidden knowledge. In The Empress Holds the Key, we are given clues and trivia galore, and you must not try to make sense of it all right away, but instead allow the author to take you on an adventure until all the answers are found. Characterization is wonderful. Jack Rogan does not dominate the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed Jana Gonski and the other supporting characters. Farago will take you inside the minds of terrorists and criminals and the mystery underlying everything will keep you turning pages to see where it's all leading. And you won't be disappointed. This is a well-written book that you can look forward to reading every time you put it down... if you can put it down. Highly recommended.

Charla White

A Historical Thriller that Holds the Reader Captivated Until the End!

WordsAPlenty received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Empress Holds the Key is a fascinating story that will have you biting your nails, sitting in awed shock and fist bumping as the action and suspense grows with each turning page. Jack Rogan is an author; a growing best-selling author who captivates his audiences with adventure and danger who happens to have stories fall in his lap when he least expects them. Rogan is well aware of his luck with the opposite sex and stories!

“She was trying to save an old cottage … Often the best stories found him in the most unlikely places. He was wondering if he was heading for just such a place."

Jana, an ex-lover and agent in charge of Special Projects finds her way back to Jack to ask him about the dead woman at the cottage, a photograph and an article. With each discovery, Jana finds herself face to face with the “Chosen One” while also being embroiled with prosecuting Nazi’s and a faith shattering secret! Jana finds herself going toe-to-toe with a wealthy banker named Sir Eric Newman and his past life.

In a twist that no one saw coming, The Empress reveals the secret in a dramatic court room appearance clearing the path to the next step of the adventure – finding a relic that Hitler wanted and the Catholic Church will do anything to keep secret.

The Empress Holds the Key is an impressive and delicately written historical thriller. Gabriel Farago does an amazing job of seizing one’s attention and holding it until the last page is turned. Blending fiction with historical and religion, he treads where few can go successfully. The plot moves smoothly allowing each character major and minor to develop fully thus by the end of the book, you know these characters deeply.

This is a book that lovers of historical fiction and thrillers MUST read. This is by no means a book on religious beliefs, however it offers up a believable alternative to the well-known “truths” in order to grow his story.

The character development is careful and deliberate revealing darkness and the depth of human souls. Farago uses rich vocabulary that is both simple and clear but which enhances the vivid imagery to the point that one can “see” the action and feel the overwhelming pain that some characters experience.

The Empress Holds the Key is the one book that will leave you thinking long after you turned the last page. It is not an easily forgotten book as its readers experience every emotion – fear, anger, shock and more!

Dixie Bee

Farago is an awesome story teller

This is a very difficult book to review without tearing it apart bit by bit. The research and information this book holds is enough to fill a dozen. The different threads to the story could each fill a book. They all come together in the end but they come from different times and different perspectives. It's hard to believe all this came from one brain!
It's very captivating from the very first. Jack Rogan pulls a story together from an old photo which reaches back decades and before the book is finished its gone back further still. Back to the time so the Knights of Templar and the crusades. There's a search for a Holy Grail that is an epic in itself.
This book covers the cruelty of the Nazi war crimes and follows the story line as greatness and beauty survives the lowest and most despicable crimes the modern world has ever seen.
Mr. Farago is an awesome story teller. He is obviously highly intelligent and knowledgeable. His interest in history and archeology is amazing. I can't imagine the research and talent that is capable of putting together such a book. This is a great talent at work. I confess that I couldn't take the time to review this book for reading the next and the next. I hope he keeps writing forever. His books are a gift to the reader. Pure gold.

Jacqueline M Piepenhagen

Great Historical Fictional Read

Suspenseful, intrigue with a mix of ancient conspiracies is the master piece of author Gabriel Farago's book, THE EMPRESS HOLDS THE KEY.

Historical information lays the ground work for this novel in the year of 1944 as a member of the Krakowski family brings forth the family secret, "Remember the empress holds the key."

The family secret surfaced after a bushfire in the outback mysteriously claims the life of a young woman. Reporter, Jack Rogan finds the picture lying among the burnt out ruins and publishes the heart wrenching aged photo in the local Sunday newspaper. It's what appears in the photo that send Jack into a tail spin after the government intervenes wanting verification as to who the SS officer is in the old photo.

This starts the twists and turns that keep the story alive with suspense and intrigue as he and an old friend; government Agent Jana Gonski set out to find the story behind this terrifying photograph.

But that is just the beginning of the mysteriously yet thrilling journey that will lead the reader on to the archeological digs of Egypt to the controversial role that the Catholic Church and the Knights Templar played as the author takes you through each intriguing clue that ultimately leads the reader to a thrilling climax as all the intricacies of the plot are resolved.

This novel is written with strong characters that build a realistic story making it hard to believe what is true and what is fiction as they travel to several continents finding clues to the mysterious photo and the story behind it.

To learn more you must read the book. I recommend it!

Plum Island Gal

I am in Love with Mr. Farago's books

I am in Love with Mr. Farago's books - nicely written, good reads, interesting plots & twists. I like the eclectic mix of characters. like the intrigue and historical nature of the story. Read & enjoy. You want to read the 3 books series prior so you know the characters. These are grabbers....start reading and you can't stop.

Mary Anne M

Great mystery that captures your attention

This is not just *A* mystery, it's several mysteries, woven together into an intriguing book that is so fast paced I felt like I was watching a movie. The characters and plot are richly defined, and they are very unique. There's a touch of the supernatural which normally just makes me roll my eyes, but this is very well done. I loved the book from start to finish and would highly recommend it. Every time I left it, I couldn't wait to get back to it.

Marion Gilbert

Fabulous read!

A global journey with passionate characters, mystery upon intrigue, connections that will make you think and wonder. When I thought I had the answer, another clue would be revealed. I constantly wanted to discover what was going to happen next.
There are many characters and places, but the strength of the writing is that of a movie script. Very enjoyable till the last line.

Wanda Melvin

Good read

Well told story. Very interesting plot, complex characters. I am truly enjoying this series and the other books by this author

Peter Nevin

My new favorite book! A great story set in deeply descriptive ...

My new favorite book! A great story set in deeply descriptive locations. Fast moving with a wide range of characters! Absolute great read!

Janis Pola

A truly wonderful read!

A real page-turner! Couldn't put it down . A truly wonderful read!

Meenaz Lodhi


I’m fascinated with Mr. Farago’s books! This is a masterpiece in its genre. The historical research behind is very well reflected in all the author’s books, so well described, it captures you from the beginning. So many turns in the plot, twisted ventures, action a must, trips to many cities,keeps you on your toes throughout the book. The background of the characters is superb, giving you an insight worth the read. The prose sometimes is so poetic, it transports you to the time and place realistically. I’ll defin read all his books!