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A novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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

Sep 05, 2016 – Thriller Award winner Harris (Dictator) successfully dramatizes the selection of a new pope. In the near future, the pontiff dies suddenly of a heart attack, and the Vatican leadership works fast to ensure an orderly transition. The process is conveyed from the perspective of Cardinal Jacopo Lomeli, the dean of the College of Cardinals, a rational and sympathetic figure who a month earlier sought permission to retire to a religious order. As the cardinals gather from around the world to vote, factions quickly develop around the leading contenders, including Joshua Adeyemi of Nigeria, who's seeking to become the first black pope, and Lomeli's successor as the Vatican's secretary of state, Aldo Bellini. Bellini gives Lomeli a glimpse at the hidden turmoil at the Vatican when he reveals that on the day of the Holy Father's death, the dying pope confided to Bellini that he had lost faith in the church. As the maneuvering for command continues, Lomeli must try to steer a path toward consensus. This is another impressive outing from an extremely versatile author.

Customer Reviews

Stellar Work

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!

View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Nov 22, 2016
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings