01/08/2009. Contributed by RJ Barker
pub: Constable Robinson. 740 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84529-673-5.
check out website: www.constablerobinson.com
David Yallop's exhaustive expose of dark dealings within the Vatican and the cult of personality surrounding Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, is the follow up to his best-selling 'In God's Name'.
This is rather an odd book for an SF/Fantasy reviewer to go through. Let's face it, it's not something most people will pick up for a little light reading if they can't find the new one by their favourite author. 'You don't have the new Iain Banks so you do have anything about the Pope?' is probably seldom heard in bookstores.
You will either be interested in this book or you won't. I found it fascinating. The dealings within the Vatican rival anything by Machiavelli. Neither is John Paul shown as the saint his public image would have us believe he was.
Fought the Nazi's? Well no. Stamped hard on the corrupt? No. Happily promoted his friends and stopped reformation? Yes. Quite liked right wing governments such as the Argentinian Junta? That, too. Is it true? Yallop presents his evidence well and some of it seems undeniable. Parts are common knowledge, such as the 'Paedophile Priest' scandal that appalled everyone.
The research is exhaustive, an eighteen page bibliography allows further reading for those interested and the writing clear even when presenting complex plots and dealings. It's often an object lesson on how large organisations, with no one to answer to, can become mired in institutionalised thinking. If you have an interest in religion, politics or conspiracy theories then you will enjoy this. If you don't, you still might.
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