Asensi, Matilde 1962-

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Asensi, Matilde 1962-


Born 1962, in Alicante, Spain. Education: Attended Independent University of Barcelona.


Writer. Has worked as an employee for the Valencian Service of Health, for local radio stations, and for Spanish national radio as a news reporter; also freelance news reporter.


Has won two fiction prizes in Spain.



El salón de ámbar, Plaza & Janés Editores (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.

Iacobus, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

El último cató, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 2001, translated by Pamela Carmell as The Last Cato, Rayo (New York, NY), 2006.

El origen perdido, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2003.

Peregrinatio, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2004.

Todo bajo el cielo, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2006.


Matilde Asensi's first novel to be translated into English is The Last Cato. The story concerns a Catholic nun, Dr. Ottavia Salina, who works in the Vatican as a paleographer. Ottavia is asked to determine the meaning of tattoos that are found on the corpse of an Ethiopian man identified as an enemy of the church. Her investigations lead her to uncover dark secrets related to the Staurofilakes, an ancient and secret organization dedicated to protecting the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It seems, however, that the order may also have been stealing slivers of the sacred relic. Critical information to the puzzle is contained in Dante's Divine Comedy. As she attempts to solve the mystery, Ottavia is aided by a handsome and intelligent member of the Swiss Guard and a quirky archaeologist.

A Kirkus Reviews writer called Ottavia Salina "an ecclesiastical Jane Bond," and described the author's take on early church history as "riveting," while noting that her writing is somewhat weak in other areas. The Last Cato is "a story worthy of Indiana Jones, although the adventurer here is a Catholic nun," according to Lisa O'Hara in Library Journal. Because of its focus on secret societies within the Catholic Church, as well as the placement of clues in a classic work, The Last Cato has drawn comparisons to Dan Brown's best- selling The Da Vinci Code. For instance, Booklist contributor John Green remarked that it is "in many ways more compelling, if a bit less accessible." He praised the fast-paced action, the well-researched background, and the intelligent writing.



Booklist, February 1, 2006, John Green, review of The Last Cato, p. 4.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2006, review of The Last Cato, p. 95.

Library Journal, March 1, 2006, Lisa O'Hara, review of The Last Cato, p. 76.

Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of The Last Cato, p. 35.


The Last Cato Web site, (December 20, 2006).