The Death of a Pope
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The Death of a Pope

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  45 reviews
An intriguing new novel from Piers Paul Read. The Death of a Pope by the highly acclaimed British writer Read is a novel of intrigue, church espionage, and an attempt to destroy the longest continuous government in the world—the Papacy. A priest who seems to be the model of compassion for the poor is accused of terrorist activities. His worldwide charitable outreach is sus...more
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Ignatius Press
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May 31, 2009 §-- rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Julie Davis
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...more
Sarah
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...more
booklady
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
Sskous
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
Christine Abbey
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
Richard
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.
Lm
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
C.j.
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
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
Skullduggery in Rome - not great literature but an engaging enough story.
Nancy
"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...more
Paul Pessolano
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...more
Ruth
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
Silvia
Description

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...more
Amy
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,...more
Gwen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe
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...more
Robert Eckard
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.
Carolyn
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.
Peter
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.
Izzatur Rahmaniyah
entah kenapa aku gak suka novel ini. Ceritanya mbulet dan intinya gak jelas. :(
Janet
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.
Paula Howard
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.
Sasha
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.
Monica Marie
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.
Helen
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.
Haley
Mar 04, 2013 Haley added it
First 40 pages were not fun going, and while I liked what followed better, I kept finding myself wishing Tom Clancy had written it, instead (and, of course, thereby improved the intrigue quotient).
Debbie
Got this book from the library after waiting for it for a few weeks. But now my husband has stolen it out from under me! Then again, I do have about 5 or 6 books sitting on my nightstand...
Zachary
An enjoyable read, but slow to start up and too much dialogue between characters that was focused on Church Doctrine rather than the action of the story.
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40311
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
More about Piers Paul Read...
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades Alice in Exile The Dreyfus Affair: The Scandal That Tore France in Two Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl

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