Robert Harris ( is the author of ten bestselling novels: the Cicero Trilogy – Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator,  then Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, The Ghost, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy, (which won four prizes including the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction). Several of his books have been filmed, most recently The Ghost (, which was directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in West Berkshire with his wife, Gill Hornby. His latest is about the power of God and the ambition of men. The summary is as follows. Cardinal Lomeli fears the worst when he gets an urgent summons to the bedside of the elderly Pope. Sure enough, the Vicar of Christ on Earth is Earthbound no more. Even as the various cardinals kneel by his bedside to pray, one thought prevails – the succession. Some are ambitious and would welcome the challenge, some even have informal teams in place to canvas for them. Others fear the enormity of the role and pray to God that He will spare them that fate. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Lomeli will have the task of running the Conclave – the meeting of all the cardinal electors to whom will fall the task of selecting the new Pope. And so – behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes for the new Vicar of Christ on Earth. Among the candidates there is Tedesco the traditionalist, Tremblay the ambitious North American and Adeyemi the African with strong views on the role of women and gay marriage. Vaticanologists will doubtless be able to tell how far these various individuals resemble real life cardinals – though even the most casual Vatican watcher should be able to identify the shady outlines of at least half a dozen well-known figures. Into this gathering there arrives a cardinal no one has heard of – Vincent Benítez, a cardinal in pectore, created by the pope in secret in order to protect his identity. Sit back and read how the will of God in these matters actually gets enacted.

If disgusted at the mere mention and whiff of all this popery, there is surely an evangelical service in a cold decor free hall to be had locally soon. Otherwise enquire at your local library or consult  for further bibliographic detail.


484 pages in Arrow paperback

First published 2016

ISBN 978-1784751838


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Robert Harris

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