The Last Pope

The Last Pope

3.5 36
by Luis M. Rocha
     
 

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Almost thirty years after the world was stunned by the shocking death of Pope John Paul I, journalist Sarah Monteiro finds an envelope stuffed in her mailbox. The contents hold the key to uncovering the truth about that mysterious death. Drawn into a vortex in which deadly mercenaries, crooked politicians, and princes of the Church itself have formed an alliance of

Overview

Almost thirty years after the world was stunned by the shocking death of Pope John Paul I, journalist Sarah Monteiro finds an envelope stuffed in her mailbox. The contents hold the key to uncovering the truth about that mysterious death. Drawn into a vortex in which deadly mercenaries, crooked politicians, and princes of the Church itself have formed an alliance of deception, Sarah must decide between revealing the truth and saving her own soul.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The election of Don Albino Luciani to the papal throne in 1978 threatens the Vatican status quo in this routine thriller from Portuguese author Rocha, his first novel.A John Paul I's views on papal infallibility and such controversial subjects as birth control, not to mention his resolve to clean house of those men of God who sullied the Roman Catholic church by financial chicanery with mob links,A lead to his murder soon after he becomes pope. In the present-day, London journalist Sarah Monteiro receives a letter implicating the pope's killers. The same shadowy band turns out to be behind the attempt on the life of John Paul II as well as the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. Sarah struggles to stay alive and keep the evidence out of the wrong hands amid predictable action sequences and hairbreadth escapes. An author interview at book's end claiming that John Paul I was actually murdered is sure to please conspiracy buffs. (Aug.)

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Library Journal

Portuguese writer Rocha centers his thriller on the unexpected death of Pope John Paul I on September 29, 1978, only 33 days into his papacy. The author, who claims to have met the man who killed the pope (identified only as J.C.), ties the conspiracy to the clandestine Masonic lodge Propaganda Due (P2) and its grand master, Licio Gelli. Like Gelli, many of Rocha's characters are historical figures, including most of those implicated in Vatican scandals of the time-American archbishop Paul Marcinkus, chairman of the Institute for Religious Works (the Vatican bank), the mafia banker Michele Sidona, and P2 member Roberto Calvi (aka God's Banker) of the Banco Ambrosiano, found hanging from the Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982. The pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Jean-Marie Villot, himself a Mason, an excommunicable offense, is also implicated in the crime. Before the novel's unsatisfactory conclusion (and the epilog supposedly written by the man who killed the pope), P2 will control the London office of the CIA and have a hand in most of the other conspiracies of the time. Unbelievable action (the fictionalized contemporary elements of this tale), shallow characterization, and banal narration limit the effectiveness of this Da Vinci Code wannabe. The author's annoying habit of trying to create suspense by referring to characters only as "this man, the fat man, the old man, the speaker, the subject, the pursuer, the assistant, the servant" adds to the confusion. For conspiracy addicts only.
—Ron Terpening

Kirkus Reviews
The mysterious death of Pope John Paul I and the evil machinations of real-life figures from Vatican bank scandals enmesh a pretty Portuguese reporter and her mysterious defender. Crowds of cynical cardinals, malevolent archbishops and grasping members of the shadowy Italian Masonic lodge P2 complicate the time-skipping plot of this thriller debut by Portuguese TV and film writer Rocha. His attempt to sort out the unanswered questions raised by the London murder of banker Roberto Calvi and the brief papacy of Albino Luciani skips back and forth between the pope's last days in the 1970s and the present. Lovely international reporter Sarah Monteiro arrives in London to find in her pile of mail an envelope stuffed with an unexplained list of names, including her father's. The list was sent by a Vatican prelate who swiped it from the archives and slipped it in the mailbox seconds before being iced by an assassin with the run of St. Peters. The killer is an operative reporting to the cabal of highly placed government, church and business figures whose Masonic alliance has allowed them to swindle and bamboozle their way to riches and political power. In their unholy work, they had and continue to have the wholehearted assistance of the CIA, which lends invaluable technical assistance to their manic effort to regain the purloined information and keep it from the public. The late pope had learned about the shady financial dealings of Paul VI's American advisor, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, and had been planning to clean house. As soon as Sarah reads the list, more bodies drop, and they continue to drop as she sorts things out with the help of a handsome turncoat agent with a mysterious past. Thenovel, an international bestseller, is nearly as messy as the actual bank scandal it draws on. Agent: Laura Dail/Laura Dail Literary Agency
From the Publisher
"Likely to appeal to fans of conspiracy theories and readers of Dan Brown."
-BOOKLIST

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399154898
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/14/2008
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Likely to appeal to fans of conspiracy theories and readers of Dan Brown."
-BOOKLIST

Meet the Author

Luís Miguel Rocha was born in Oporto, Portugal and worked for many years in London as a television writer and producer. He is the author of the international bestseller, The Last Pope.

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The Last Pope 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
This book is unrelentingly fast paced accentuated by the short chapters. The protagonist, Sarah Monteiro, a newspaper reporter, is running for her life because she holds a partial list of the membership of a secret organization (P2) and clues to its involvement in the murder of Pope John Paul I. It is somewhat frustrating to determine the true importance of this list as the characters bandy this back and forth throughout the
book.

There is very good characterization of complex characters and their motivations. Sarah Monteiro may be the character that is least real. The characterization of John Paul I; his intended changes, the personal beliefs ascribed to him, his humility, devotion, determination and courage is refreshing. This book should have ended one chapter earlier than it did after a well executed surprise twist. The last chapter reduces the impact and is more puzzling than forceful. The epilogue supposedly written by the primary villain and murderer of Pope John Paul I makes little sense. A leader of a secret organization dedicated to maintaining anonymity at all cost is unlikely to write an epilogue to a book about his secret organization. The author¿s assertion in a question and answer section after the epilogue that a Portuguese cleric at the Vatican verified that his storyline of Pope John Paul¿s murder and the activities of the P2 was accurate was interesting even if it came across as braggadocio. This fast paced thriller that may well contain elements of truth is a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The premise, assasination of a sitting Pope, intrigues the buyer. Perhaps in the original Portuguese edition it reads better. The text is replete with redundancy and the dialogue so artificial that I was forced to give it up afer thirty pages. Impossible to read.
BakinBetty More than 1 year ago
I tried. But I got lost with all of the anonymous characters, the multiple names of the popes, and all of the "historical" background of the story. I just made 100 pages and that was a struggle. I too, think that perhaps something was lost in translation. Disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very very good book. Easy to read and easy to get in to. You get into the book from the first chapter. The only thing is you need to realize that the chapters that are about Pope John Paul I go backwards in time. I couldn't put the book down and wanted to know what was would happen in the next chapter.
GirlieMac More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is like reading a bad knock-off of the DaVinci Code meets Angels and Demons. Sarah is sent a list of names from the mysterious P2 and multiple groups try to capture her to get the list. Meanwhile, Raphael, CIA/P2/traitor, comes to her rescue. I kept waiting for the book to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the plot, but there are too many characters, and useless information. I gave up reading this twice because it was so choppy. But I'm glad I finished it. Interesting turn of events.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters were all well done, the plot was great, and the reason why are all in here for you to wonder if "that's not really how it happened" read this book and then you can decide for yourself.
firesidereader2 More than 1 year ago
This book transfixed me. An avid reader as well as an English and history teacher, I find few authors and/or books that are fresh or gripping or on a short "must-read" list of recommendations to friends. This book is all of these. The action itself, and the story that unfolds, would alone be sufficient for a "thumbs up," but the idea that the events have, apparently, at least some basis in point of chilling fact, makes me want to run out and buy "The Last Pope" for one and all to share. This book provokes thought in addition to providing entertainment...but it is the thought that lasts.
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