Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Holy Bullet by Luis Miguel Rocha

In May of 1981, the world was shocked when a Muslim terrorist attempted to assassinate the beloved Pope, John Paul II. Although greviously wounded, he survived and lived to fulfill God's mission for him. Even more shocking to many, Pope John Paul met with his attempted assassin, Mehmet Ali Ağca after the attempt, and fully forgave him. Luis Miguel Rocha's new novel, The Holy Bullet, is written around this shocking event.

John Paul II came to the office after the short tenure of John Paul I. His short time in office led to rumours that his death was not natural. The attempted assassination of John Paul II so quickly after his ascension to Pope reinforced the belief that there were powers plotting against the papacy. Now, warring factions form alliances and opposing forces to try to either discover or hide the truth of this event, depending on which side they are aligned with.

The reader is faced with a dizzying array of characters. There is Sarah Montiero, a journalist who is editor of international affairs at a prestigious magazine in London. Her father, Raul, is a Portugese military officer, and was involved earlier with Sarah when they looked into the death of John Paul I. Another returning character is Father Rafael Santini; caught up in religious politics and secretive about the things he knows. There are representatives from the CIA, the Masons, the Opus Dei, the police forces of several countries, and the Catholic church. There are plots, counterplots, betrayals and surprising facts that are revealed. Over all looms the question of whether Sarah and Rafael can discover what lies behind the plot against the papacy, and whether they can use that knowledge to save the Pope.

Fans of Miguel Luis Rocha's first novel, The Last Pope, or those who enjoyed The DaVinci Code, will enjoy The Holy Bullet. The author insists that not only is the book based on true facts, but that some of these facts were given to him only years after the attempt on John Paul's life by a man who claimed to have been involved in the death of the first John Paul. The plotlines are tight and intersect compellingly, and the reader is pulled along, afraid to read what comes next but afraid also not to. The characters are interesting, and their motivations twine and twist until none of them is predictable. This book is recommended for suspense readers.

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