Conclave by Robert Harris
I admired the research effort that Harris put into his historical novels and he appears to have done his homework this time too. Interestingly, alongside un-named senior Catholic sources, a previous Grannus Musings title, Richard Holloway’s “Leaving Alexandria” gets a mention.
Compared to his other books, the result this time is short and compact, designed to be read in the same timeframe as the Conclave itself? Like the Cardinals, the reader is trapped between the confines of their airless accommodation and the Sistine Chapel. This has more in common with Agatha Christie than Dan Brown.
There is too little time to find out much about the characters. However, we are drawn into the complex mix of motivations within and between people in competition for power. There is even some sympathy for those making imperfect attempts to lead a spiritual life.
The group responded with remarkably consistent (or just polite?) scores. Views on the topical twist at the end were anything but.
– Chris Butler