Though the Shroud of Turin is infinitely fascinating, the research available on it is finite: the pollen; the negativity of its image; the bloodstains; the theorized Mandylion connection; its accurate depiction of the anatomy of a man who died by crucifixion; the evidence of Roman-style execution, down to the images of the weights on the ends of the whip used to beat the victim; evidence of first century Jewish burial practices, etc.
All of this evidence adds up to two conclusions, neither of which can ever sit comfortably in the mind of an intelligent person. One conclusion is that the Shroud is a diabolical, intricate fake. It was designed by some Medieval forger who could predict how scholars, in a variety of fields, centuries hence, would seek authenticity, using features no Medieval audience would require or even accept - for example, Jesus' nudity and nail marks through the wrists, rather than the hands.
The other conclusion is that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. *That* conclusion is so stunning, so truly terrifying in its implications, that the intelligent person, while intrigued and delighted by the Shroud's mysterious features, struggles to find conclusive evidence that the Shroud cannot possibly be what it very much appears to be.
In any case, the evidence to support either conclusion is finite. If you read this book, or Mark Antonacci's book, or any number of other publications on the Shroud, you will be going over similar intellectual terrain. You will read of neutron flux, the sacking of Constantinople, the Knights Templar, and the peculiarities of Jerusalem's flora. As an artist, Wilson pays more attention to artist Isabel Piczek's theories than other authors have -- and that is a very good thing -- but, otherwise, Shroud fans will have read about much of this material before.
What set Ian Wilson's book apart for me was the author's style. Amidst the hard evidence, Wilson was willing to give us his own subjective response to seeing the Shroud for the first time. Wilson was willing to quote others' astounded reactions as well. Wilson wrote of scholars whose theories he does not accept with wit and graciousness. He was also willing to share with those of us outside Shroud politics the ins and outs of the Shroud world's gossip and infighting.
For these reasons of style, humanity, humility, and humor, Wilson's is my favorite Shroud book so far. I like it that he doesn't allow the pressure to prove the Shroud's value via hard science to silence his humanity. Wilson strikes me as a wonderful chap; reading his book, I wished I could be discussing the Shroud with him in person in a pub somewhere in the soggy English countryside.