City of Secrets by John Follain
The Truth Behind the Murders at the Vatican

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On the night of Monday, May 4, 1998, in Vatican territory, the bodies of the commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife, and a young lance corporal were found in the barracks of the picturesque force entrusted with protecting the pope. It was the worst bloodbath to take place in more than a century in the heart of the supreme authority of the world's one billion Catholics. Four hours later, the Vatican announced that the lance corporal, twenty-three-year-old Cédric Tornay, had shot the couple, then committed suicide in "a fit of madness" brought on by frustration with the unit's discipline -- a conclusion it reaffirmed after a nine-month internal inquiry.

But as John Follain's hard-hitting exposé shows, the official report was a travesty, a tissue of suppositions, contradictions, and omissions. Based on an exhaustive three-year investigation, City of Secrets reveals how the Vatican, the oldest and most secretive autocracy in the world, staged an elaborate plot to obstruct justice -- and hide the scandals it dared not confess.


About John Follain

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JOHN FOLLAIN was born in 1966. He studied at Oxford before joining Reuters, for which he worked as a correspondent in Rome and Paris. He has covered Italy for The Sunday Times since 1998. His previous books include The Last Godfathers and Zoya's Story on an Afghan resistance fighter, which was translated into fourteen languages. He was voted runner-up for the 2006 Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism, and nominated for the 2008 Magazine Journalism Awards for his interview with the Knox family.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Gay & Lesbian, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Follain argues that Tornay and Estermann had had an affair, that Tornay had complained loudly and frequently of the laxness of security and the ridiculousness of rules that prevented the Swiss Guard from carrying guns while dressed in their striped-pantaloon finery, and that in all events a heavy...

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Publishers Weekly

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As Follain turns up evidence—mostly circumstantial and anecdotal—that the murders were more complicated than the Vatican opined, including apparent ties between Estermann and the conservative group Opus Dei and a possible homosexual affair between Estermann and Tornay, and as his outrage grows, h...

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While John Follain’s book City of Secrets: The Truth Behind the Murders at the Vatican is set in 1998, not exactly ancient history, it takes place at the Vatican, one of the most fascinating and mysterious settings in the world.

May 14 2003 | Read Full Review of City of Secrets: The Truth Be...

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