Henry Hawkins is a film maker and after his wife dies under circumstances where her belief in the Catholic faith was pivotal - he decides to make a documentary about the workings of the Vatican. He manages to get an appointment with Silvio Contini who is the Secretary of State of the Vatican City and also head of the Vatican Bank.
Unfortunately he is not allowed in but then fate and a reporter lady conspire so that he is offered a chance to get into the heart of the Vatican, but he has to assume another identity. Once there he gets an exclusive post and ends up being in the inner sanctum for a papal conclave after the Pope suddenly dies. Once inside he has to deal with a whole manner of obstacles to be able to get at the essential truth and in so doing hope to find some rationale for why his wife had to die.
This is an ambitious story in that it deals with part of the Catholic World that not many know about and religion is always a tricky subject matter. However Paul Cross has done some impressive homework and research which all add to the authenticity of the story. However this is also an adaptation of the screenplay and I think it suffers for it. There are over wordy descriptions of routes taken and what amount to stage directions for part of the story. Also the actual events require one to make a bit of a leap of faith and considering the subject matter, that is probably a bit too much.
The copy I received in exchange for a review is not a Proof and yet it also contains many spelling mistakes such as `fool hearty' instead of `fool hardy' and `myocardial infection' instead of `myocardial infarction' and I hate to say it but that sort of thing really puts me off; I stopped making notes after the fifth example. Cross can clearly write and can weave a story but I felt this could have benefitted from the keen eye of an editor and as such I found the book to be just OK - hence my rating.
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