Morris L. West, Author
Morris L. West, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (293p) ISBN 978-0-312-04339-1
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
The Vatican trilogy that began with The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963) and The Clowns of God (1981) reaches a dramatic conclusion in West's bold limning of a modern pontiff presiding in a time of terrorism and violence. Leo XIV, a pope physically at risk as well as spiritually troubled, is unlike his warmly remembered predecessor, John XXIII. Reactionary and forbidding, out of touch with the faithful, Leo undergoes bypass surgery that puts him at the mercy of ``Brother Death'' and in the care of a Jewish Italian surgeon with Zionist connections. Amid political intrigue and counterespionage, both pope and physician become prime targets of Islamic terrorists. Convalescing, Leo experiences a ``change of heart,'' considering abdication in favor of a simpler life. West's authoritative knowledge of labyrinthine Roman society provides a credible background for the gripping climax. Timely and absorbing, this novel will appear as the two earlier books are reissued in both hardcover and trade paperback. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild dual main selection; author tour. (Apr.)
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