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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Last Popeby Luis Miguel Rocha
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… See more details below
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.
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.
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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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