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Conclave: A novel by Robert Harris
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Conclave: A novel (edition 2016)

by Robert Harris (Author)

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3523031,026 (3.96)17
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:Conclave: A novel
Authors:Robert Harris (Author)
Info:Knopf (2016), Edition: First American edition., 304 pages
Collections:Loaned from Library
Rating:****
Tags:Literary Fiction

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Conclave by Robert Harris

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English (26)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  All (30)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
This is a fantastic page turner from one of my favourite authors Robert Harris. He mixes the historical and political and weaves intrigue through a novel in a way that few can match. The action in this novel is mostly the few days of a conclave a few weeks after the pope has died. I was on the edge of my seat wondering who would be elected pope, the plot twists and turns were swift and well executed. I thought at first I would get confused with all the cardinal's names but he manages to hold this together so well too with memorable descriptions of the key players so that I was always able to recall them. The action is seen through the eyes of Lomeli, who is in charge of managing the whole process and this ensures that the narrative hangs together and gives it a personal and emotional edge. One of his best, a great story well told and a great read. ( )
1 vote Tifi | Jul 12, 2017 |
A quick an enjoyable read with a a good story structure, if rather a lot of plot turns to 'kill off' various character. ( )
  celerydog | Jul 12, 2017 |
A masterful thriller by the master story teller. Good characterisation, detail and pacing. Not labyrinthine or entirely unpredictable but a good read. ( )
  DramMan | Jul 1, 2017 |
I love these kinds of novels. I’m always up for a plot filled with intrigue, who’s going to backstab who, who’s got the dirty secrets and who’s the horrible but cunning bastage that will expose these secrets and so on….

I had to whip out my dictionary for these latin/Catholic terms that are prevalent throughout this novel. (My knowledge in Catholicism is very rusty.) But you learn something new all the time right? Now I know there’s actually names for each piece of their clothing these men wear.

I love how it in the first third of the novel the plotting to be the next pope starts. It’s a reminder that even though these people are spiritual figureheads and we look to them as authority figures, they’re still humans with ambition. But this is the part I loved reading the most. I love the intrigue, I love the plotting. I love how Lomeli is in the middle of this and is trying to make sure everything in the voting process is legitimate.

You have a group of characters to keep track of, but there isn’t much to them. They’re broken into cliques to keep track of them easily but the book is centralized on Lomeli and he’s the only one that develops throughout the novel. He’s likable for the most part and does deal with his inner self for the most part. He has his faults as well which makes sense (who doesn’t want to be pope?!) which makes these characters realistic.

The plot itself starts off really well. I liked the pace and events during the story. What bothered me was the last third of the novel where everything went chaotic and the author seemed to inject some action to make it more lively. I didn’t think it was necessary and there wasn’t any need for that. What I would prefer is more intrigue and inner plotting amongst the Cardinals. (There was but there was no need to the action sequence which wasn’t even a feature it happened “off screen”.)

Another thing which didn’t sit too well was it was one thing after another with the surprises. First it was this guy. Then the other. Oh, can’t forget this guy either. We already elected the pope? No wait here’s another monkey wrench. It was just too much (by the end I was screaming out: “Just give him the papacy and let’s go home. This is getting ridiculous”.) Some parts were spaced out but it just felt too much. However, good on the author to make sure all the loose ends were tied together. Nothing was left unanswered.

I liked this book but it would have been better without all the extra bits and pieces here. More intrigue and plotting within. It’s what makes it so much better. Otherwise, it was a short quick read and worth it. Just remember this is an alternate history of events. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Jun 18, 2017 |
Fun, short page-turner. Enjoyed. ( )
1 vote jvgravy | Jun 13, 2017 |
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'I thought it wiser not to eat with the cardinals. I ate in my room. At the eleventh hour I was elected Pope. O Jesus, I too can say what Pius XII said when he was elected: "Have mercy on me, Lord, according to thy great mercy." One would say that it is like a dream and yet, until I die, it is the most solemn reality of all my life. So I'm ready, Lord, "to live and die with you ." About three hundred thousand people applauded me on St Peter's balcony.

The arc-lights prevented me from seeing anything other than a shapeless, heaving mass.'

POPE JOHN XXIII , DIARY ENTRY, 28 OCTOBER 1958
'I was solitary before, but now my solitariness becomes complete and awesome. Hence the dizziness, like vertigo. Like a statue on a plinth - that is how I live now.'
POPE PAUL VI
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Even voor tweeën in de ochtend verliet kardinaal Lomeli zijn appartement in het Paleis van het Heilig Officie en liep haastig door de donkere kloostergangen van het Vaticaan naar het slaapvertrek van de paus.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451493443, Hardcover)

The best-selling author of Enigma and Fatherland turns to today's Vatican in a ripped-from-the-headlines novel, and gives us his most ambitious, page-turning thriller yet--where the power of God is nearly equaled by the ambition of men.

The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world's most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on Earth.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 05 Sep 2016 03:29:34 -0400)

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