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Author(s): N/A

ISBN13: 9780385492317

ISBN10: 0385492316

Publisher: Doubleday

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  • The Cold War has ended. With a scope and daring not possible until now, an unlikely international alliance of top-level political, financial, and religious interests sees the way clear at last to its ultimate goal: the establishment of a single global society. Utopia.

    These are men with nothing in common but immense power and a towering ambition for still more. With world unity and prosperity as their sloganand with betrayal, scandal, and murder as their ready weaponsthey have the means and the will to capture as their own the perfect global machinery for their plans: the oldest, wiliest, and most stable political chancery in the worldthe Vatican.

    At the vortex of this lethal struggle stands the embattled Pope, a geopolitical genius whose elimination is the short-term solution to a long-term goal, and two American brothers, Paul and Christian Gladstone, one a lawyer and the other a priest, who appear to be the perfect pawns. One falls prey to the sharp teeth of greed for power. The other will become one of the Slavic Pontiffs closest allies...and will discover the darkest secrets at the very heart of papal Rome.

    From America to Europe to Russia, in broad landscapes and clandestine corridors, a rich and varied castpresidents and politicos, simple saints and savvy sinners, popes and pope-makersclash with one another amid dramatic and sometimes bloody events that will affect the destiny of every person alive today.

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    He fetches Christianity onto the stage of history. Martin enjoys indulging his considerable skills, much to the pleasure of the reader.

    - The New York Times

    A Black Mass in the Vatican in 1963 gets Malachis first novel since Vatican (1985) off to a wicked start. A potentially gripping conflict between two American brothers?one a priest, one a lawyer, both heirs to a fortune and to the family manse of Windswept House?follows. But as Martin, a former Jesuit and veteran Church commentator, develops his complex plot, he begins to dwell to a fault upon the themes hes explored in numerous books, most recently The Keys of This Blood, 1991. Martins concern is what he sees as the erosion of the Churchs moral authority, both from within and without. Here, a Slavic pope whos obviously John Paul II is being maneuvered into approving the Resignation Protocol, which, if enacted, will force him to resign in the name of Church unity. Martin attributes this erosion to a global conspiracy among world powers both East and West, fueled by Satanic influence and by the failure of John XXIII to act upon the Third Prophecy of the Fatima Letter in 1960. The narrative is richly detailed with Church lore, but the sermonizing is incessant, with dialogue often sounding more like editorial commentary than speech. Many think of the current pope as theologically conservative, but Martin, through one of the brothers who have been caught up in the struggle, takes him roundly to task: "You have abandoned your seminarians to heretical teachers... your nuns to a destroying wave of secularizing feminists," and so on. What could have been a smart and shocking thriller winds up instead as an onslaught of ecclesiastical facts and religious opinions occasionally interrupted by plot. The wind that blows through this rambling shack of a novel is, ultimately, angry and hot.

    - Publishers Weekly

    The author of Vatican (1986), among others, returns with a mammoth meditation on the troubled state of todays Catholic Church. So troubled, as one of the characters reports to the "slavic Pope who is the central figure here, that "its going down. In his opening scenes, surprising for this measured writer, Martin portrays an animal sacrifice straight out of Stephen King, and Lucifers plan is unveiled: to penetrate the Church hierarchy and eventually the Holy See itself with corrupt priests. They are bent on merging with economic and ethical universalists in the public arena, but their true agenda is the ascension of Satan and the annihilation of humankind. A young American priest, Christian Gladstone, from a place of peace called Windswept House, attempts to reverse these trends in his audiences with the slavic Pope; his twin brother, a lawyer, is embroiled in the impending new world order. They are light and dark, but, curiously, the slavic Pope is gray. He as much as anyone stood against Stalinist forces in Eastern Europe, but at a cost to the private message of faith and redemption the Church always has symbolized. But, while he himself has secularized the Church, his personal faith is deeply traditional. He seeks a revelation from an aged nun who participated in the Marian manifestation at Fatima. Can she tell this weary old man when Jesus will return? Does he have the strength for one last battle, as Lucifer stands poised to become Pope? Slowly, indeed, Martins passionsand his agony over the dire straits of his faithbuild into a deeply felt moral crisis. Martin is a close associate with Pope John XXIII, and his knowledge of Vatican politics is extraordinary. He pauses just short of the Apocalypse, but should find readers among Catholics and many evangelicals. Too slow-moving, and too specialized, for everyone else.

    - Kirkus Review



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