I am minded of a witty review back in the day by Dorothy Parker, who wrote of a book that it should not be put down lightly; it should be hurled with great force.
A scan of the acknowledgments at the back of the novel about a conclave in which a Dean of the College of Cardinals must do some sleuthing (cardinals are bumped off… the Chair of Peter, not bumped off…) will tell you a great deal about what is between the covers. Would that I had read those acknowledgements before I turned to the opening page.
It is, mercifully, a fast read. It deals with some current controversies. I detest spoilers, so I won’t give you anything substantive. There are absurdities in the plot which would allow canonists to pen some great posts about the validity of the conclave and, therefore, the election of the predictable surprise “Pope” at the end. There are some ludicrous shots at tradition especially through its personification in unlikeable cardinals. And there is this…
Even when I detest a book I hate spoilers. There are a few clever moments, mind you, but they in no way make up for this thing’s gross inadequacies and cheap shots.
Do yourselves a favor. Keep moving when you run across it… unless you can find a used copy in the cart outside the store which you could give to someone you don’t like.