Conclave: The bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club thriller

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Conclave: The bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club thriller

Conclave: The bestselling Richard and Judy Book Club thriller

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The process involved in the election of a Pope is something I have given little or no thought to in the past which is why I found this book extremely interesting. I was baptized Catholic, my mother raised in the Catholic faith, my father converted so they could be married in St. Conclave is unputdownable in exactly the same way that the work of Henry James, for example, is very easily putdownable, which is to say its put- or unputdownableness is not a necessary indicator of its overall quality. The protagonist, Cardinal Lomeli, who is supervising the conclave of Cardinals at the Vatican after the death of a Pope, is a highly appealing prelate, beset with self-doubt, deeply compassionate but not sure about doing the right thing; Also compelling is the sheer detail with which Harris leads you into the elaborately ritualized and claustrophobic world of the Roman Catholic Church's inner sanctum, even to the extent of noting the chemical makeup of the famous white smoke that signals the new Pope's election.

As a long standing fan of Robert Harris’s books it pains me to have to say that I found this one rather disappointing. Written in a third person limited perspective of a single character, Cardinal Lomeli, who is the dean appointed to oversee the papal conclave, the narrative is subtly compelling in the way it strings the reader along to keep turning the pages to discover what happens next. This didn’t change until almost 400 CE when the Romans declared Christianity to be the state religion and the title was awarded to the Pope. It's not unreasonable to assume that many cardinals would like to become pope, but as each one slips from grace, the whole thing starts to become a little daft. Es gibt auch nicht den Antagonisten, der in der Regel ein großer, dunkler und entweder besonders gut aussehender oder besonders hässlicher Schurke ist, dessen Motive immer vom Bösen in irgendeiner Form geprägt sind.That lack of drama is telling and turns what might be a good story into a rather pedestrian ramble through the arcane bureaucracy of the Vatican.

It starts off well with an interesting premise about the conclave, but half way through it features an unnecessary nasty act and the end didn't feel clever so much as political. Behind the scenes of each vote, though, there is enough scheming and maneuvering to make your head spin. Conclave é um thriller que explora os efeitos do poder no seio da Cúria Romana e, colateralmente, denuncia luxos, riquezas e negócios.

The action moves at a breakneck pace and, with each passing ballot, the reader is keen to discover who’s up and who’s down. Here is where the mysteries in the text lie, when much of the earlier half read more like a manual on how a new pope's election was constructed. The author also drops a lot of actual historical references of past Popes and elections, injecting a sense of authenticity to the storytelling.

I also saw a programme about the Borgias and a dramatised version of the Conclave, so when I saw this book I knew I would have to read it. Regardless of how interested you are in the bigger picture, this book is a fantastic, page turning thriller that had me up til 2AM to find out who would be the next Pope. What starts out as a usual process for choosing a new pope, soon develops into a plot with numerous complications, unraveling secrets long hidden, and just when you think you have it all figured out, a new twist to the storyline is thrown in. Harris is not in the business of messing about with his readers, and usually gives sensible clues – no impossible Agatha Christie twists here, but although I realised there was a significance in an event described (no spoilers) I couldn’t work out what it was. I felt like I was in the middle of the Conclave and actually meeting and greeting the other Cardinals, meditating, plotting and participating in history.Several of his books have been filmed, most recently The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski.



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