I enjoyed this fast-paced thriller that begins with a bang (an explosion and two murders) and ends with a bang (lots of killing right inside the Vatican walls) with lots of action in between. At first, I wasn’t sure who was a good guy and who was a bad guy.
Essentially, summarizing in a few sentences: the new pope wants to make Pope Pius XII (so- called “Hitler’s Pope”) a saint; there are secret archives containing documentation on Pope Pius XII. Anyone who gets too close to the Pius XII archives winds up dead. Eventually, all the good guys must work together to determine whether Pius XII was Hitler’s Pope or whether he was, in reality, a pious man (hence the title).
I liked the humor and found myself on more than one occasion chuckling. However, I especially appreciated the author’s efforts to bring forth true information regarding Pius XII. I believe this is the strength of this novel.
A few interesting tidbits: in this book, at least one priest is trained in martial arts and some characters use the rosary as a weapon – literally, to hurt someone – and there is a new pontiff (Pius XIII) from Sudan.
However, while there is promise in the author’s inherent writing style, there’s a definite need for line by line copy-editing (there were typos and grammatical errors) as well as developmental editing.
Most of this novel is either dialogue or fighting, although not overly graphic. So if you like a lot of action (in the form of fighting), then you’ll probably enjoy this book. There were too many protagonists, in my opinion, and I wasn’t really able to “bond” with one or two main characters because of that. It was also difficult keeping track of characters because there were so many.
The bottom line, though, is that I enjoyed the story and I appreciated the author’s efforts.
I downloaded the Kindle edition of this book while it was available for free. 3 (out of 5) stars.
Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach