Tobin, Greg. Conclave. Forge. July 2001. c.432 p. ISBN 0-312-87352-2. $25.95. Fiction.

The Pope is dead, and the College of Cardinals has convened to elect a new one. In the running is 64-year old archbishop Timothy John Mulrennan, who finds himself under attack for decades-old sins. As he analyzes the history of the Church during the last half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, Tobin (The Wisdom of St. Patrick) unfolds the archbishop’s life through a series of flashbacks—his time as a spy in Cold War-era Berlin; a tour as chaplain in Viet Nam; his work as a parish priest in Newark, N.J., during a period of civil unrest; and his directorship of an abbey in New Mexico that ministers to problem priests. Throughout, Mulrennan ponders questions of faith. His endless prayers and introspective moments may put off some readers, but this is a well-researched history of the modern Church and an excellent portrayal of a man of deep spirituality.

LJ, 126, no. 9 (May 15, 2001), 165.

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