Publication Date: March 22, 2013
The new African Pope has been hunted all his life and is highly security conscious. When he courts controversy by seeking to make Hitler’s pope a saint, people start to die. Six investigators representing international policing agencies head to the Vatican in an attempt to protect the pope and stop the loss of life. Can they succeed or does the problem have a depth none of them realize?
The author, Declan Finn, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
There’s a lot going on in A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 1). Finn assembles a massive cast of characters for this work reminiscent of the world of Daniel Siva crossed with of Dan Brown. When the description says that these investigators are unlikely, they truly are. As a reader, I puzzled over the idea of what each was doing in the Vatican from their respective countries, but as the story unfolds, their goals become clear. Finn helpfully adds links to additional information regarding key characters to enhance their role in the plotline.
A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 1) has the feel of a well-researched and plausible book. Much like Dan Brown, a lot of what is written appears to be based on facts with elements made up for enhancing the story. A quick net search shows me that there has not been an African pope since 198 A.D., though African archbishops have certainly been in the running. Another search shows that Catholic archbishops in Sudan do have cause to fear violence. The aforementioned Silva travels to various countries and researches in those settings before writing, and Finn’s work has that same feel of authenticity. This has not happened but it’s not so beyond the realm of possibility that it could.
There were a few characters that I found to be a bit much. Sean Ryan is a former Hollywood stuntman turned security expert in the story. Sean, as much as anyone, is the loose cannon leading the action in this story. He’s at the Vatican to teach the nuns and priests self-defense. He’s a stuntman so he is something of an expert in the art of making a thing look good without hurting his attacker. All the while he’s like a snake waiting to spring into the story and swallow a few of the players. There were some scenes where any other action or character seemed as a filler for Sean Ryan’s next move.
Wilhelmina Goldberg, American Secret Service Agent, was also a bit over the top at times. Thoughts that caused me to roll my eyes while reading the scenes and lines is that she has a short person’s complex with the need to strike back, but in striking back verbally she came off as disingenuous. Her responses contrived to be a “Dammit Jim, you’re a loose cannon” kind of moment. Both Sean Ryan and Goldberg could be a little perfect in their moments which for the reader rings false in a way that stops the flow and immersion into the plotline.
Overall, A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 1) is a really solid work and worthy of four stars. The story flows well and the action is well placed. There are times when we’re overloaded with information but the author is careful to give it to us in a way where we don’t break with the story. If you like political intrigue, A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller (The Pius Trilogy Book 1) is the novel for you. Watch the A Pius Man book trailer on YouTube.
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