The Death of a Pope: A Novel

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9781586172954: The Death of a Pope: A Novel

Juan Uriarte, a handsome and outspoken Spanish ex-priest, seems to be the model of nonviolence and compassion for the poor and downtrodden. So why is he on trial, accused of terrorist activities? His worldwide Catholic charitable outreach program is suspected of being a front for radicals. The trial is covered by Kate Ramsay, a young British reporter, who sets out to undercover the truth about Uriarte and his work. She travels with him to Africa to see his work first hand but soon finds herself attracted to him. Meanwhile an international conspiracy is growing, one that reaches into the Vatican itself. When the death of Pope John Paul II brings the conclave that will elect Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, a terrorist plot involving blackmail, subterfuge, and mass murder begins to fall into place... a plot that could spell disaster for the Catholic Church and the world. Piers Paul Read's powerful tale combines vivid characters, high drama, love, betrayal, faith, and redemption in a story of intrigue, of church espionage, and an attempt to destroy the longest continuous government in the world--the Papacy. The Death of a Pope races toward an unexpected and unforgettable conclusion.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Centered on the final days of Pope John Paul II, Read's uneven thriller will appeal mainly to those interested in Catholic theology. British journalist Kate Ramsey, who's covering the Old Bailey trial of three men accused by MI6 of plotting a sarin attack, is drawn to one of the defendants, Juan Uriarte, who testifies that he was seeking the poison gas to use as a deterrent against warlords in the Sudan, where he works for the Catholic Refugee Service. After the trial ends in acquittal, Ramsey gets herself assigned to cover Uriarte's relief work in Africa. Rather implausibly, Ramsey agrees to Uriarte's request that she transport on a plane flight a thermos that he claims contains a Nag Hammadi scroll. Meanwhile, British intelligence believes a megaterror event is in the works, and as John Paul II nears death, villains scheme to rig the succession. Read remains best known for Alive (1974), his nonfiction account of Andes air crash survivors who resort to cannibalism. (May)
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Review:

The Death of a Pope is a faith-driven theological thriller, narrated by a storyteller of the first order whose unassailable orthodoxy is as refreshing as it is rare among the bedraggled ranks of contemporary novelists. --Joseph Pearce, author The Quest for Shakespeare

Piers Paul Read has managed to combine sheer storytelling power with great learning and insight about the inner workings of the Church to fashion an entertainment of the highest order. If John LeCarre took on Vatican politics, his book of suspense might aspire to be much like this one. --Ron Hansen, author Exiles

If you love the Catholic Church, you will probably love this book whether or not you love a good story. If you love a good story, you will probably love this book whether or not you love the Catholic Church. But if you love both the Church and a good story, you will certainly love this book. -- Peter Kreeft, author Because God is Real

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