Windswept House

Malachi Martin, Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (656p) ISBN 978-0-385-48408-4
A Black Mass in the Vatican in 1963 gets Malachi's 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 he's explored in numerous books, most recently The Keys of This Blood, 1991. Martin's concern is what he sees as the erosion of the Church's moral authority, both from within and without. Here, a Slavic pope who's 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. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-385-49231-7
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