The Fisherman's Tomb - The True Story of the Vatican's Secret Search

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  • The Fisherman's Tomb - The True Story of the Vatican's Secret Search
  • A quest to discover the long-lost burial place of the Apostle Peter

A Texas oilman. A brilliant female archaeologist. An unknown world underneath the Vatican.

In 1939, a team of workers beneath the Vatican unearthed an early Christian grave. This surprising discovery launched a secret quest that would last decades — a quest to discover the long-lost burial place of the Apostle Peter.

From earliest times, Christian tradition held that Peter — a lowly fisherman from Galilee, whom Christ made leader of his Church — was executed in Rome by Emperor Nero and buried on Vatican Hill. But his tomb had been lost to history. Now, funded anonymously by a wealthy American, a small army of workers embarked on the dig of a lifetime.

The incredible, sometimes shocking, story of the 75-year search and its key players has never been fully told — until now. The quest would pit one of the 20th century’s most talented archaeologists — a woman — against top Vatican insiders. The Fisherman’s Tomb is a story of the triumph of faith and genius against all odds.



John O’Neill is a lawyer and #1 New York Times bestselling author. He has spent much of his life visiting and researching early Christian sites. He is a 1967 graduate of the Naval Academy, a former law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and senior partner at a large international law firm.

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Reviews (11)

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  • 5 Aug 7th 2020
    Great Read

    I chose St Peter as my Saint for Confirmation (Now- Nov. 2020) and for life. I received this book as a birthday present during the pandemic and couldn't put it down. It was very interesting. I would recommend to anyone but, especially to someone who is drawn to Saint Peter.


  • 5 Nov 1st 2018
    The Fisherman's Tomb

    Very interesting, great read

    Adam Burnieika

  • 5 Oct 26th 2018
    The Fisherman's Tomb

    Excellent well written case history about the location of Saint Peter's bones.

    William Roy Kesting

  • 5 Oct 25th 2018
    A story I didn't know

    I never realized all the twists and turns this discovery of St. Peter's tomb had; I thought it was just voila! Here is the tomb of St. Peter. An unknown Catholic tycoon,a female archaeologist, and a prideful priest—this was a story I hadn't seen coming. Wonderful book.


  • 5 Oct 23rd 2018
    Easy reading

    Wow, an awesome book to explain the often said claim of Peter being buried under the Vatican! I haven't finished reading it yet but so far, it is a special understanding to obtain.

    Donna Suloff

  • 5 Oct 22nd 2018
    the Fisherman's Tomb

    Great Book - Did not put it down until I had finished it!

    George Delucchi

  • 5 Oct 9th 2018
    The Fisherman's Tomb

    A well written book about the different people that worked on the Vatican's secret search for Peter's remains. John O'Neil does a great job of giving the background of all the participants so the reader can understand all the facts leading to the discovery.


  • 5 Sep 29th 2018
    The Fishermans' Tomb

    Excellent story with sidelines about the Church and it's role in WWII. Lays to rest a lot of misinformation about the Church during this period. The appendix were even a good read. I recommend reading the appendix/illustrations of the tomb and how Vatican Hill was built up and leveled before you start the book. This will give you a perspective of the depth and size of the area. Great read!


  • 5 Sep 28th 2018
    1-day read

    It's hard to describe how engrossing this book was to me. If it wasn't for family responsibilities, I would have read it in one seating! I was privileged to tour the Scavi in 1992, so I believed I knew the whole story, until I read the book. As Catholics, we are taught to see God's handiwork in details, not only in the Bible, but throughout history. This book certainly shows God's perfect timing as the story unfolds (and years pass).

    Monsita Corbett

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