Book Review - Conclave by Robert Harris; a Catholic historical fiction



By Suzanne Gougherty | 

We might ask ourselves – What really goes on behind those massive wooden doors as they close in the Sistine Chapel, as Catholics and the world look on and watch for the smoke to rise – black or white? The novel – Conclave by Robert Harris gives us a “feel so real peak” inside the decision-making in this modern-day political thriller, which is not predictable.  

The Pope is dead. The death sets the stage for the historical process of choosing the next pope as Cardinals gather from around the world to vote in a most secret election for the next Pope.  

Harris gives the reader an inside look.  The plot is more involved than what might seem like a simple process, numerous stories unfold of ambition, and deep secrets unravel with every turn of a page.  

Just about the time you feel as if you have it figured out, well not so fast, a new twist is about to unwind.  The tale exposes the political factions within the leadership of cardinals, their ambitions, their corrupt effects of power; after all, they are men, not without sin.  

Each page is thought-provoking and aligns with the backstabbing we see today in many elected government officials. Harris weaves in many historical references of past elections, along with vivid descriptions about the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, and the like.

A Catholic historical fiction would best describe the book. The "Conclave" had me ripping thru the pages at a furious pace - a sign of a good book. 

But more than that, you feel as if you are living thru the entire story - reading it LIVE as it is happening, yes, it’s that compelling.  It’s a novel that only comes around ever so often, so pick it up and get ready for a good read, sure to keep the candle burning long into the night. 

Suzanne Gougherty is a Michigan-based 50-year radio veteran who currently involved in the sale and acquisition of North American radio terrestrial radio properties. 

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