Author: Piers Paul Read
Ignatius Press
ISBN:  978-1-58617-295-4

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Terrorism is a modern plague that has gripped America since 9/11 and scores of books have been written on the subject.  The trial that must be undertaken to elect a new pope is also a familiar topic in books from the unknown ones to Angels and Demons.  In The Death of a Pope, these two topics meet in a new and unusual way.

The terrorist trial of an ex-priest is interesting enough for Kate Ramsey, a London reporter, to be sent to cover the event.  The ex-priest, Juan Uriarte, manages to prove his innocence and is set free.  Kate loses her job at the paper and is in desperate need of a story, a very impressive one, to write freelance.  It is then she remembers Uriarte.  She decides to follow him to Africa and see if he is truly the peaceful aid worker he portrayed himself as in the trail.

She loses herself in the desperate need, working at the clinic with suffering women and children, holding them as they die of AIDS.  The friendship between her and Uriarte evolves into a romance and she flies home to write her story.

Then the Pope dies and she has a chance to go cover the election and to see Uriarte who is in Rome.  Once there, she learns that there is a terrorist plot to destroy the conclave and with the help of her uncle, a priest, she attempts to stop the bloodshed.

This book is a rather short tale for the weight of the issues at hand,  but the story is well-told and action packed.  The action doesn’t waver and mire the reader down in too many details.  Jumping into the heart of the plot with no long winded introduction, the readers is taken on a roller coaster ride where every page holds a surprise.

The problem with a rapid fire plot is that important human interactions are given short shift.  For example, the romance of Kate and Juan is rather sudden.  It goes from Kate’s remarks about her attraction to him to them becoming lovers.  The relationship does not build upon romantic moments, but explodes on the scene with a fierceness.  It is very vital and alive, but many sentimental readers will miss all the wooing.

Again we see this in the ending romance with Kate and Kotovski, who helps her save the cardinals against a horrible terrorist act.  Kotovski acts only slightly interested in Kate due to her connection to Juan, but by the last chapter he is hopelessly in love with Kate.  The rapidness leaves the readers wondering where this great love comes from for Kotovski.

Despite the need for tenderness, The Death of a Pope, takes common elements, throws them together, and out comes an interesting, intriguing, and exciting story that will capture a reader and not let go to the end.

 Click Here To Purchase The Death of a Pope