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The Death of a Pope

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  198 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
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 under ...more
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published March 15th 2009 by Ignatius Press
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May 27, 2009 Σς rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel
Not many books can be suspenseful and heavy at the same time. Read gives you something to think about while he's got you on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next. The achievement is quite remarkable: it combines what is good in literary fiction with what is satisfying in genre fiction.

So what is there to think about? The reader is forced into Kate's shoes and realizes along with her that liberation theology is a tempting madness, that today's trendy relativistic/secularist
Julie Davis
Jun 15, 2009 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
Juan Uriarte, a former priest known for his compassion for the marginalized in third world countries, is on trial in London for terrorist activities. The trial is covered by reporter Kate Ramsay who is worried about her career and decides to cover Uriarte and his work in Africa among AIDs victims.

The story moves from London to Rome, Rome to Africa, Africa to Egypt, and onward. As it does, the cost in suffering and lives that is perceived as the result of practicing the Church's policies is hotly
Sep 03, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, catholic
Definitely a page turner! I read it in about 5 days, and with 6 little children, that is quite fast for me!

I didn't *love* the characters, though. They made me mad! Ha!! I guess that is a sign of a good book, though, isn't it?

Also, I appreciated reading about both sides of the fence within the Catholic Church. Sometimes it is frustrating to try to understand "the other side," but it is important (to a degree). I don't really like using the terms "liberal" and "conservative" in religion, but I kn
May 21, 2009 booklady rated it really liked it
Compelling, fast-paced read. Piers Paul Read's latest novel starts off with a bizarre trial and builds dramatically during the final days of Pope John Paul II's pontificate. As the aging Pontiff lays dying, speculation grows about his successor. The reader, aware of actual history but not sure how this story will hold true, follows the missionary travels of acquitted terrorist and laicized priest Juan Uriarte from London to Rome to Africa; then from Cairo, Egypt back to Rome again. English repor ...more
Jan 01, 2010 Sskous rated it really liked it
a good, fun story. nothing heavy, nothing dramatic. just a little intrigue around the selection of a new pope. However, in a refreshing change of pace, and the reason it's 4 stars, is the excellent way Read handles the teachings of the Catholic Church ~ with respect and without embarrassment. He doesn't shrink from bringing the very best arguments against the Church's teachings on the use of condoms in Africa or liberation theology in poorly-governed countries. His confidence in the Church's tea ...more
Paula Howard
Jan 11, 2011 Paula Howard rated it did not like it
I hate to give negative reviews but this books is only worth reading if you need something to put you to sleep. The character are shallow and the plot worth than the characters. Religious fiction/espionage is one of my absolute favorites. Totally disappointed in The Death of the Pope. It goes no where fast.
Christine Abbey
Oct 14, 2009 Christine Abbey rated it really liked it
Character development of rich girl falling for adventuresome older guy who is charged with terrorist tactics, goes free, helps African poor while planning terrorist plot to gas all the bishops selecting next pope. Good read on airplane during anniversary trip
Nov 23, 2009 Richard added it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review and thought this was an author I followed.
Save your time. This ends up being primarily an anti-Catholic Church, anti-American rant thinly disguised as a novel set at the death of Pope John Paul II (Karyl Wojtyla) and the elevation of Joseph Ratzinger as Pobe Benedict XVI.
May 22, 2012 C.J. rated it liked it
A bit dour, with the soi-disant villains getting more of hearing than those supposedly on the side of good. But a tense, tautly-realised romp of a thriller all the same.
Don Anderson
Nov 25, 2009 Don Anderson rated it liked it
Shelves: just-read
Variation on "death of the pope" theme found in so many other works. Read's treatment is more serious than others that read like a travelog.
Lynn Kearney
Dec 31, 2009 Lynn Kearney rated it liked it
Skullduggery in Rome - not great literature but an engaging enough story.
Paul Pessolano
Feb 18, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
Piers Paul Read is best known for this book, "Alive" which tells the true story of a plane crash in the Andes. The book sold five million copies and was later made into a film.

Read, in "The Death of a Pope" moves to Christian fiction. The book has its foundation in the election of a Pope. It is based in the present, in fact, the elected Pope is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the present Pope Benedict XVI.

The book starts with the trial of Juan Uriarte, and ex-Catholic priest who is working for the Ca
May 28, 2009 Amy rated it liked it
These are my comments: I wouldn't consider this a review.
I enjoyed - but not wholeheartedly, unfortunately - The Death of a Pope.
Aspects I liked, and could relate to - the worldly young woman with the kindly priest for an uncle, except that I don't have an uncle who is a priest. She was not a sympathetic character...I wish Read had developed his characters more fully. The book could have been quite a bit longer, in fact, and it would have been nice to understand more about the characters. More,
Jun 13, 2009 Nancy rated it it was amazing
"Death of a Pope" by Piers Piers Reed is a thoughtful book. It takes the reader from a trial in the Old Bailey to Rome, Africa, Rome and back to London. The premise is serious: is the Catholic Church at the root cause of the spread of famine and AIDS in Africa? And, if so, what can be done?

When Kate Ramsay covered the trial for terrorism of Juan Uriarte, a Basque ex-priest; she became interested in his causes. Did he purchase Sarin gas in order to kill people in Darfur? Did he really mean to onl
Jun 25, 2009 Silvia rated it it was amazing

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 uncover the truth about Uriarte and his work. She travels with him to Africa to see his work first hand but soon finds
Sep 20, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it
My latest read for Tiber River Reviews is a thriller, The Death of a Pope. Set around the time of the death of Pope John Paul II, it is the story of Kate, a young English journalist from a wealthy family and Juan, an ex-priest who has dedicated his life to serving the poorest of the poor. They meet when Kate is covering Juan's trial for terrorism--he was caught trying to obtain some Sarin nerve gas. Since he was being tried for planning to use it on humans and the defense told how he was going t ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Lm rated it did not like it
One of the worst books ever written. He tries to imitate Hemingway's style but ends up writing stage directions. Just like a child's piano doesn't have the range of octaves to play anything meaningful or engage the listener, his continual tirade that the pope is responsible for Aids in Africa is boring, unoriginal, unimaginative, and unsupported by any facts. Major yawn. The ending is ridiculous. He spends the entire book building to the climax and then it totally fizzles. It's over before it's ...more
May 05, 2009 Gwen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it
This is a well researched book as far as the theological aspects, environment, and history go. The author does a good job of creating and interesting story, however the main characters are all fairly irritating in their own way. The main protagonist is almost a minor character, while the main characters are flawed enough to not be likeable.
The book is entertaining and easy to read, but it seemed like it was over-edited, with a lot of the details that could have made it more interesting (for both
Louisa Donovan
Jul 04, 2016 Louisa Donovan rated it liked it
Don't expect this to be a Dan Brown style thriller. Instead, Piers Paul Read gracefully weaves a tale of mystery and doubt where good and evil are in the eye - or heart- of the beholder in a novel that reads more like little slices of life than a continuing story. Is Uriarte what he seems or what he is accused of being? Is Kate sophisticated or naive in the real ways of the world? Is truth absolute? Slowly these questions are posed, exposed, and deposed by an author who expects the reader to hav ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Chalky rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, quite a bit.

It's not a page turning thriller, but a good read, well-written. Suspect you have to have an interest in the Church, pro or con, to pick it up, or not put it down when it's plot is a little more subtle and dozens aren't dying on every page.

I think my " 4 Star" review was probably a 3.5001, but wanted to balance done of the more negative "1Stars" who seemed yo find it an attack on Catholisism ... Which I didn't think at all, more a well-thought out work which raises s
Jul 09, 2009 Sasha rated it did not like it
So far, this book is terrible. I am seriously considering quitting this book.

Well, about half-way through, I couldn't take the lameness any longer and I flipped to the end of the book and read the last 10 pages or so. I am very glad I skipped those ~100 pages. This book was so not worth my time.
Jun 03, 2009 Peter rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, thriller, italy
Piers Paul Read is a 'conservative' catholic writer and in this novel, which is stitched around an ingenious plot to kill off the College of Cardinals, he tackles some of the most provocative and perplexing issues facing the modern Church. It is not the best Papal Novel I have read by any stretch but it is truly a novel of ideas.
Nov 15, 2009 Carolyn rated it liked it
Post 9/11 terrorist conspiracy thriller that focuses on the conflict within the Roman Catholic Church between the forces for liberation of humanity and those who would keep the status quo: a few holding on to wealth and power while the masses remain poor and suffer.

Does become a page-turner in the second half. Will make a good movie script.
Aug 15, 2011 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is not the usual genre I read. I got a slow start, however, the story moves at a fast pace. Lots of dialogue. I am surprised that Ignatius Press published it because they seem to be more conservative and this novel seems to be more on the liberal side of Catholicism. Makes good points and is interesting.
Robert Eckard
Oct 17, 2013 Robert Eckard rated it really liked it
Ignatius Press sent me this title for free when I ordered some other books. I did not really want the book. But I started reading it one day with a little free time - to my pleasant surprise, it is very well written, a very good story, the author has a good handle on Catholicism, and weaves his plot around very nicely. I was unexpectedly impressed, and would recommend.
Aug 02, 2009 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic
I remember seeing an interview with the author on EWTN and had made a mental note to read the book. The plot is a totally horrendous scenario to imagine, but possible. The book started pretty slow but became a page-turner.
Monica Marie
Jun 21, 2012 Monica Marie rated it really liked it
Very interesting read with a twist. The kind of book that is hard to put down. Unfortunately, the end leaves much to be desired. After several chapters of drama, the end is rather abrupt. I wonder if there's a continuation in mind.
Alicia Schultz
An easy read with an embarrassingly predictable plot and the women written as if the author has never met a woman in his life.
Dec 23, 2009 Renee rated it really liked it
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British novelist and non-fiction writer. Educated at the Benedictines' Ampleforth College, and subsequently entered St John's College, University of Cambridge where he received his BA and MA (history). Artist-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in Berlin (1963-4), Harkness Fellow, Commonwealth Fund, New York (1967-8), member of the Council of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (1971-5), member of ...more
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