Basilica by William Montalbano

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Vatican City, the dawn of a new century: a lone priest trudges up the winding stairs to the top of St. Peter's Basilica, only to be helped to a sudden and permanent route down. With this death, an ever-more complex chain of events is set in motion in a new kind of thriller: a story of Vatican politics and obsessional revenge, of violence both spiritual and physical, of two men shaped and scarred by a common stormy past. One is the new Pope, nicknamed Tredi, the first from Latin America, a young, audacious risk-taker ready to shake up the old guard, even if it means making dangerous enemies. The other is Brother Paul, a former Miami homicide cop, still recovering from the horrific deaths of his family and brought to Rome as an informal investigator for the Pope, a Vatican Mr. Fixit drifting unsteadily in the shadows of the giant church. When the priest dies in the Basilica, it is Paul who is asked to find out what it means, and soon his days are torn between new alliances and old enmities, as the threats multiply, the ghosts of the past stalking the ancient streets of Rome, circling in upon both Paul and Tredi. In a multilayered surprising thriller, filled with mystery both religious and corporeal, they find that it is not so easy to change an institution, just as it is not so easy to change a life. Though a life is easy to lose...

About William Montalbano

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William D. Montalbano was Rome bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times for eight years, and its London bureau chief for three, before his untimely death in March 1998.
Published December 28, 1998 by G. P. Putnam's Sons. 296 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The priest with a shady past is almost as ubiquitous in certain types of thrillers as the prostitute with a heart of gold was in Westerns of a particular vintage, but in Montalbano’s story Paul Lorenzo never actually made it to ordination: —Once I was an on- the-edge cop, but now I—m a Roman Cath...

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