Szulc, Tad. To Kill the Pope. An Ecclesiastical Thriller. A Lisa Drew Book. Scribner. July 2000. c320p. ISBN 0-684-83781-1. $25.00. Fiction.

While researching his biography of Pope John Paul II, former New York Times correspondent Szulc came upon a conspiracy theory behind the 1981 assassination attempt. Pursuing this theory, he offers a fictional treatment of that event, with the French Pope Gregory XVII falling victim to the attack. Five years after Italian authorities have concluded their investigation of the Turk who wounded the Pope, Gregory XVII asks former CIA operative Tim Savage, now a Jesuit and scholar of Islam, to track down the people behind the plot. Savage follows a trail from Rome to Istanbul to Paris to southern France, discovering along the way that the plot to kill the Pope originated not with Moslems or foreign intelligence services but much closer to home. This is an intelligent novel, more detective story than thriller, which reads like a series of lessons in Church history, including a fascinating journey through the process of becoming a Jesuit. Recommended for all public libraries.

LJ, vol. 125, no. 10 (June 1, 2000), 206.

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