The blurb was enticing, and I like that old Simon Raven, Iain Pears kind of stuff anyway, and there was also a gay theme. Looked good.
The author, hiding behind a pseudonym, was an art historian, aparently, and possibly a high-up in the Catholic Church; a person of education, promising an educated read.
I have to say that I gave up some time after page 100 when I encountered about the fortieth mistake: fons et origens, a Latin phrase which ought to be fons et origo, meaning source, origin, fount of all knowledge, or whatever. The book is full of little phrases and expressions in Latin, Italian and Spanish. Unfortunately there are far too many errors in these to inspire the reader's confidence, which in my case was severely jolted on page 9 or thereabouts, where the expression 'free reign' was used. Mr or Miss Van Adler ought to know that the expression is 'free rein', and is derived from riding horses, and has nothing to do with being a queen.
The plot is highly unlikely, and not really very entertainingly expounded. I immediately wondered how Pius could understand what Manolo and Antonio were saying to each other, given that they speak to each other in Basque, a language which, curiously enough, does not appear erroneously scattered anmong the paragraphs of the book as with the Latin, etc. (see above).
There are also some British people, who speak in extremely odd, unBritish ways, for the author is from the United States, and despite an excellent topographical knowledge of Rome, and for all I know, Maastrich as well, he/she does not quite manage to capture the way in which the English and the Scots talk.
I rarely, having a completion neurosis, leave a book unfinished, but this one has defeated me. The other reviews are quite mystifying and I can only conclude that the reviewers were taken in by the blurb, as I initially was.