The Pope is dead.
Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, 118 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 72 hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.
©2016 Robert Harris (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
A reader from my youth in several languages, to have now discovered Audible is more than a bonus.
Had Robert Harris been a. lesser writer, this novel may have turned out to be deceiving and predictable at the same time. But he is not a lesser writer. His research, his detail, the fluidity of his prose, still work their magic, and even that soupçon of a trendy issue that the reader receives at the end of the novel is not followed through in a way to make having read the book an unsatisfactory experience. Once again, the characters that he invokes take on their own identity and force within the reader's imagination and mind, and through them, we gain an entrée into the human psyche and the omnipresent experience of the undertow of power. I, for one, could scarcely stop listening.
"Good "read" (listen).. but!"
Excellent book with great detail and plenty of political intrigue within the Vatican. Narrator superb. Unfortunately, the ending was too contrived and brought me down with a bump!!
Roy Mcmillon (McMillan?) read very well and matches the tone of this story.
Robert Harris writes well.
I found this book almost as good as 'The Ghost', that Robert Harris wrote some years ago.
Our Dean, in telling his own story is an exact and very likeable person who begins to take a few risks and moves away from his established comfort zone in order to do his 'job' well.
Do not expect 'leaping over tall buildings' or 'spy vs spy' or contrived plots. You as reader or listener may guess the outcome and it really does not spoil the story at all. Another story you may find is about a man we only meet as a corpse. There is an absence perhaps of the high drama of Harris's Cicero trilogy and for me 'Conclave' remains compelling.
If you have already read and enjoyed Harris's other books and wonder how the election of a Pope could stand up to his other works, my only response is 'this book is well worth your credit and your time'.
"My first Robert Harris not my last"
I too a chance on this book and am so glad I did. It was both well written and beautifully narrated. An interesting insight into the whole process of electing a new pope, with intrigue. What's not to love!
"The power of illusion, is that people believe"
Robert Harris delivers a very good yarn full of intrigue and ritual, making as feel as if we are part of this private club of men that are served by women they suppress, a gentlemen's club where god whispers his desires into the minds of men that have no concept of a terrestrial reality, sequestered from the world but not uninfluenced by it, in a place where greed and power are as strongly felt as in any other institution of power, except that every idea is attributed to the holy spirit and given a motivation to satisfy men,s kingdom of god's kingdom.
Well written, and entertaining while not being offencive to believers or others, delivering a good story that will work for most people no matter where they stand in the religious spectrum.
"could it really happen?"
Wow, what a great read, just couldnt put it down, fabulous story so convincing you believe in the people.
"A Tremendously Engaging Novel"
The subject of this novel, the election of a new pope, did not immediately appeal to my interests, however, as someone who has always enjoyed Robert Harris's works, I felt that it was likely to overcome my reservations.
And indeed it did. I was gripped from the word go!
There is a powerful sense of being able to secretly enter a world, which is otherwise totally impenetrable to most of mankind, and to observe the unobservable. I have to admit to being somewhat awestruck by the sense of being there with the cardinals, in the thick of it.
The leading character, Lomelli, is superbly developed, along with a good many others too, providing a depth to the story line which more than compensates for the constraints of writing about a repetitive process of voting sessions. So many twists and turns occur, that I found myself longing for the next round of voting in order to see how things would transpire.
To my mind, the plot was very well paced, never losing its sense of direction or momentum, and typifies Harris's prowess as an outstanding author. The eventual outcome have you tingling with surprise!
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightfully different novel.
As always, Roy McMillan is brilliant in his reading.
I write as someone who is not a Catholic, and who has no knowledge of the workings of the Vatican, and therefore I took everything at face value.
"Another hit from a great storyteller"
Another compelling page turner from Robert Harris. I wanted my commute to be longer so I didn't have to stop listening.
"So well written. A delight"
Wonderfully written, well researched and fully fleshed out characters.
I had hoped that it would last forever.
One of the best books that I have come across
"What a writer! What a book!"
Probably the best book I've listened to this year. His skill and polish as a writer shine through, showing just how unsophisticated a lot of current authors are. As a non religious person I wasn't sure if the subject matter would hold my interest, but it really did. Along with all the technical details of both the Roman Catholic practices and the Conclave itself, which you accept as accurate and very interesting, the characters are so well rounded that you can believe they are good but flawed men. I found myself understanding and caring about characters who held totally contrary opinions to myself, due to the skilful portrait of them by Mr Harris. The mystery unfolds slowly and the last twist is wonderful! Could be room for a second book?
"Couldn't put it down."
A real page turner. I found the characters believable and the performance matched the text beautifully.
"An unusual concept that works so well"
Conclave is written by Robert Harris. I love his books and Conclave is another of his works that grabs you and pulls you into the world that the author has created.
The subject matter is very different to other books I have read and has an amazing twist.
The Dean is a wonderful character.
Not really. It gave me quite a bit to think about because of the spiritual element.
Conclave is beautifully written and performed. I am still thinking about it days after finishing it.
"Slow at first but then surprisingly compelling"
It takes a while for the narrative to get going as numerous characters are introduced (there are 118 cardinals in the conclave!) and the rules governing the election of a new Pope elaborated. The description of the first few voting sessions repeats much of the procedure but at the same time reveals things about the various main players. Gradually the story becomes more interesting as the different factions become polarised and the less than saintly behaviour of some cardinals revealed.
I will not spoil the story by mentioning revelations and events that propel the narrative to gather pace and become more gripping. The ending is a surprise but there’s a clue early on as to what it might be.
I’ve enjoyed many of the books by this author and think that the series on the life of Cicero more satisfying and The Officer and a Spy more exciting than Conclave. I found the descriptions in Conclave of the archaic rituals and superstitious beliefs interesting but amazed that they have survived into the 21st Century.
There are a lot of unfamiliar names, some rather similar sounding, in the story and I sometimes got confused over who was whom, but eventually the main players emerge and their conflicts and loyalties more compelling to listen to.
The narrator is excellent and injects life into the narrative.
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