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The Devil's Advocate

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,194 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
The Devil's Advocate, Morris West's best-selling novel,is a deft exploration of the meaning of faith. In an impoverished village in southern Italy, the life and death of Giacamo Nerone has inspired talk of sainthood. Father Blaise Meredith, a dying English priest, is sent from the Vatican to investigate—and to try to untangle the web of facts, rumors, and outright lies tha ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Loyola Classics (first published 1959)
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Feb 25, 2010 booklady rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Catholics
In the canonization process of the Roman Catholic Church, the ‘Promoter of the Faith’ popularly known as the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ is the priest whose job it is to argue against whoever has been proposed for sainthood. Morris West’s The Devil's Advocate takes place in late 1950’s or pre-Vatican II era, Calabria, Italy, the ‘toe of the boot’ for those not so familiar with Italian geography. During this time of apparent calm in Church history—the uneasy quiet before the storm unleashed by the many mi ...more
Aug 24, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic
I picked this up on a whim-- actually, I saw it for sale for $1 and decided what the heck-- It turned out to be a real page-turner, it's just really well-written and enjoyable... One of the reviews on the inside cover say it somehow manages to be as exciting as a murder mystery, and I think that's right, which is surprising given its about a priest who goes to a small Italian village to decide whether a recently diseased man ought to be canonized.

The only real issue I have with it is that the e
Julie Davis
Jul 05, 2011 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
I'm reading this for the Elements of Faith book club. It is the story of a disillusioned English priest who is dying but is asked to take on one last task ... that of being the Devil's Advocate in investigating a possible case for sainthood. Traditionally, the Vatican would assign someone to look into the good reasons for beatification and also assign a different person to raise all the reasons against beatification. (It is an old system that was discarded in modern times but which has just been ...more
Christian Engler
Sep 20, 2013 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Morris West's--The Devil's Advocate--is a perennial literary classic thriller that is an intermixture of politics and religion, which explores the behind-the-process investigative scenes of Catholic saint making. But that is really only the backdrop to the totality of the story, for the real narrative deals with the world weary and cynical English devil's advocate, Fr. Blaise Meredith, a man who has been informed that due to an illness, his life expectancy has been shortened. With such a blow, h ...more
Jul 27, 2010 Jeanie rated it it was amazing
I had seen this author on my mother's bookshelves when I was little, so expected it to read like "popular fiction". I have now read 2 Morris West books, and I think when the 20th century reaches the "classic literature" stage, Morris West will be one of the writers whose names and works remain in circulation. Set in the rural mountains of Italy, this very powerful novel tells of an aging and ill Vatican leader's last gift to his community. Crossing religions, class and politics, this story of ol ...more
Katie King
May 09, 2012 Katie King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very satisfying and very dated novel. Perhaps satisfying because so dated. Makes it clear that for particular constituencies their alliances and differences keep shifting in subtle ways that matter, even if overall rather similar.

In this case the attitude toward homosexuality by the protagonist is left at the end in some disarray, and without a final judgement. It's not "liberatory" but quite fascinating anyway.

And the pathologizing sexism toward a major female character is intended to be sym
Patricia M.
Feb 11, 2014 Patricia M. rated it it was amazing
This is my new favorite book. It has amazing characterization. The story is excellent. The process of becoming a saint in this time of the great author, Morris West, is what we all know best. It is the Devil's Advocate versus the potential saint. This is really high drama. Throw in the Second World War in Italy as the back drop, and it is a perfect storm. It keeps turning corners in unexpected ways and keeps you dangling. It challenges faith and lack of it, smells and bells, and the disheartened ...more
Eric Wright
Jul 08, 2016 Eric Wright rated it it was amazing
Although the writing in this book contains much more description and lengthy conversation than I am used to, I found it engaging and very well written. The cast of characters is engaging and the moral dilemmas that they encounter are challenging. In a sense, the Christian faith, atheism, and the institutional Roman Catholic Church are challenged. The challenges become very real and personal to each of the characters. The setting in Southern impoverished Italy, post war.

Giacomo Nerone, killed by
Victor Bonini
In general, not a book that surprised me. On the contrary: it pretty much bored me from beginning to end, not containing a single fact that I actually hadn't foreseen.
The good: there are some inteligent reflexions about religion and human nature that aroused my thoughts. Some of them are old-fashioned (since it is a book published in 1959), but I overlooked them and tried to get the sense out of them. Philosophically speaking, it was the book's highlight.
The bad: as I said, it is predictable and
Sherrill Watson
Jun 22, 2016 Sherrill Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Devil's Advocate" is a fact-finding person who seeks the truth in the first step toward beatification in the Roman Catholic Church. I think.

Fr. Blaise Meridith is sent to a small town in Italy to interview people during WWII, about a man calling himself Giacomo Nerone. There is much politics in the Vatican, Father Meridith is very "good" but has been treated badly, or at least like a hermit, notwithstanding his immanent terminal illness, and the people he is to interview are suspicious. But
Sep 21, 2016 jsewellmcevoy rated it it was ok
Very dated novel with West's Catholic sensibilities to the fore; in this instance a Vatican official investigating a case for sainthood discovers the prospective saint had fathered a male child by a local woman. Said child is now under threat by the village's resident homosexual - an English artist named "Nicholas Black" ie, the devil himself. The vatican official takes it upon himself to save the boy from a fate worse than death, surely. 'Nuff said. Some good dialogue and characterisation in th ...more
Gláucia Renata
Nov 04, 2014 Gláucia Renata rated it it was ok
A premissa é muito interessante, lendo a sinopse você imagina que encontrará pela frente um grande livro. Narra a história de um homem condenado à morte por um câncer que resolve encarar seu último trabalho: investigar, a mando do Vaticano para quem trabalha, a vida de um candidato a santo, assim como a veracidade dos milagres atribuídos a ele. O problema foi o desenvolvimento da história e dos personagens: extremamente superficial, clichets absurdos, personagens quase caricatos, acontecimentos ...more
Jose Luis Meza Garcia
Jan 10, 2016 Jose Luis Meza Garcia rated it really liked it
Demoré mas de 20 años en empezar este libro. Me explico, mi mamá tenia muchos libros. Entre ellos varios de Morris West, (inclusive le regalé "El Legado de Palombini") hace muchos años; pero nunca me había interesado por leerlos. Los veia y veia en los estantes pero no me llamaban la atención y ahora recuerdo un viejo comentario: "normalmente descubrirás un libro cuando estés en capacidad de disfrutarlo". Muchos años después y empezando el año empiezo por primera vez un libro de Morris West, en ...more
Robby Burke
Mar 12, 2016 Robby Burke rated it really liked it
Morris L. West's book, is a graphic novel that shows an untangled web of emotions. Such as emotions as rumors, lies, and myths have been created that surrounds life and death. The Vatican in Rome, sends a priest, Fr. Blaise Meredith to a village in Italy, where Meredith finds much pain in the people. Along with the hardship, he encounters Nerone, a man to be the father of Meredith. Along with discovering that he is the biological son of Nerone, Meredith also discovers that Nerone's cult. West's ...more
Gabriela Bortoluzzi
Este livro é sobre a política e o ser humano. Não é um livro de terror, ação, suspense ou romance. É um drama, no qual conseguimos adentrar aos sentimentos mais íntimos de alguns personagens. O autor consegue, durante toda a narrativa, descrever detalhadamente os personagens, tanto na sua forma física e trejeitos pessoais quanto o âmago de seu ser, seus desejos mais obscuros e medos mais enraizados.

É um livro um pouco cansativo de ler, a meu ver, mas que traz algumas indagações interessantes, qu
Oct 03, 2015 Pascale rated it did not like it
This book started well enough, and I liked the idea of the investigation into the file of a proposed saint being used as a lens to examine the volatile situation of post WWII Calabria, but in the end the characters are unmemorable and unless you are a believer, you're bound to lose interest. Particularly irritating is the character of the contessa, a cougar whose yearning for a young lover is clearly presented as a pathological condition. Given power, Mr. West might well have had Demi Moore lobo ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Canavan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pilar Guerrero
Sep 29, 2011 Pilar Guerrero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan 30, 2015 Nan rated it really liked it
Having just finished this book today I'm puzzled at what to say in a review. Maybe it has to roll around in my head for a bit longer. It is a very good book. It's different and yes dated. I'm born and raised Catholic and think that helps, well, seeing a deeper meaning. I'm old enough to know the church ways of the 1950's. West digs deep into character development. Some probably find that slows the story-it did for me-at least for the first third of the book. But then I appreciated the depth that ...more
Pam Foster
Nov 12, 2014 Pam Foster rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I'm afraid I found it too theological. While I appreciated the need to make the characters beliefs known, it was a bit much for me to get through. But the characters grew as the story unfolded. The message was clear - I just felt it could have been done with less pontificating.
Luis Cardenas
Oct 01, 2015 Luis Cardenas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una intriga de pueblo que culmina con una revelación de belleza y perdón. La temática religiosa de Mortis West nunca me ha sido ajena. Y ahora en este momento que me declaró fan de su imaginación y cazador de si bibliografía. Nombró esta la tercera mejor novela del año.
Mar 31, 2016 Shermin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really absorbing story,I was left with a bitter sweet feeling when I finished it,like leaving a beautiful place when your holidays are over.The characters are really strong,a well woven plot and and above all a sublime concept hidden through the lines.
Apr 08, 2009 Tamara rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not really any one.
Recommended to Tamara by: I liked the other book I read of his.
Didn’t really dig this one. It was leading me into the anticipation of a clever outcome but didn’t put one on the table. I also didn’t like West’s blatant and clearly unqualified (because if prejudice) judgment of Gay men. I thought the arguments on both sides were antique. To me, they came across as arrogant beliefs (on both sides). It put a stale thought in the reading that I found disturbing.
Over all, the book was a shallow view of life, love, Catholicism, and death. However, if there was on
Phil Lawless
Aug 09, 2016 Phil Lawless rated it it was amazing
I think I read this in a Reader's Digest condensed book a long time ago. It introduced me to Morris West as an author., and I have followed him ever since.
May 20, 2014 Hectorianus rated it really liked it
West llega a ser predictivo, muy buena estrutura de la novela, personajes humanos, matices dentro del sacerdocio, grato...
Dec 01, 2015 Lori rated it liked it
I probably waited too long to read this. Wonder whether the author would handle the story the same in the 21st century.
Diane Hropic
Nov 11, 2012 Diane Hropic rated it liked it
This book was hard to get into, but once I got to know the characters I enjoyed the unravelling of the mystery of Giacomo Nerone. The novel also takes the reader through a religious exploration of the purpose of life. When our lives take a wrong turn, it is our faith in God which gives us hope for the future. Without belief there is no hope. This book invites readers to question the meaning of life, our role and purpose on earth. How do we leave this earth peacefully? We all want to know we've b ...more
Sep 02, 2011 Shaun rated it liked it
This book sounded interesting from the description, but wasn't as good as I expected it would be. I found it better as it went along and had a decent ending, but it was not my favorite. The gist of the book is about whether a noble man should be "sainted" in the Catholic Church based on his life. The main character is chartered to be the "Devil's Advocate" to help determine whether or not the "sainthood" status should be granted. It had too much Catholic rhetoric for my liking in parts too. This ...more
Joana Souza
Dec 18, 2014 Joana Souza rated it really liked it
"O amor é a coisa mais terrível que existe no mundo."
Marguerite Ludbey
Jun 30, 2016 Marguerite Ludbey rated it really liked it
Religion is a weird thing.
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Morris Langlo West was an Australian novelist and playwright, best known for his novels The Devil's Advocate (1959), The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963), and The Clowns of God (1981).
His works often were focused on international politics and the role of the Roman Catholic Church in international affairs. One of his most famous works, The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963), envisioned the election and ca
More about Morris L. West...

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“I don't believe in miracles, only unexplained facts.” 7 likes
“Each of us can walk only the path he sees at his own feet. Each of us is subject to the consequences of his own belief.” 5 likes
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