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The best-selling author of Enigma and Fatherland turns to today's Vatican in a ripped-from-the-headlines novel, and gives us his most ambitious, page-turning thriller yet--where the power of God is nearly equaled by the ambition of men.
The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world's most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on Earth.
From the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
You needn't be a papist, believer or cynical atheist to be drawn into this thoroughly engaging work.
Harris admirably strikes an "information equilibrium" in establishing the background--a targeted level of detail is deployed, enabling a gripping vicarious experience without sacrificing pace and space with theological/ecclesiastical excess.
The book taps into Machiavellian intrigue of Catholicism, but avoids simplistic/cynical moral oversimplifications, thus illustrating the good within the bad and the bad within the good.
Good enough for a two day read
Robert Harris writes well, easy to read.
So it isn't his style that falls short here.
The plot line moves glacially at the speed the papal Curia moves, probably intentional here.
The premise, while entirely au currant, is questionable like so many gender issues today.
The book ends abruptly, has no smooth transition to closure.
His book Pompeii is a better read.
What a read! I felt a part of this austere group of spiritual men. Couldn't put it down!