Review The Last Pope

Sabtu, 17 Maret 2012

Paus Terakhir (The Last Pope)

by Luis Miguel Rocha (Goodreads Author), Fahmy Yamani (Translator)

Vatikan, 1978: Pada tanggal 29 September, dunia dikejutkan kematian mendadak Paus Yohanes Paulus I, yang baru ditahbiskan 33 hari sebelumnya. Pengumuman resmi Vatikan: Bapa Suci wafat karena sebab-sebab yang tak diketahui, “kemungkinan berkaitan dengan serangan jantung”. Jasad Paus dibalsem sebelum kurun waktu 24 jam usai, mencegah kemungkinan untuk autopsi.

London, 2006: Jurnalis Sarah Monteiro kembali dari liburan dan menemukan amplop misterius di kotak posnya. Di dalamnya terdapat daftar nama dan pesan bersandi. Pada mulanya Sarah hanya kebingungan, tapi saat penyusup mendobrak masuk rumahnya, dia tahu daftar itu dapat mengancam nyawanya.

Tersedot ke dalam pusaran penuh tipuan, Sarah menyadari isi amplop itu adalah kunci yang dapat mengungkap korupsi yang tak pernah terbayangkan---plot yang menghancurkan bukan hanya penjahat licik dan politisi busuk, melainkan juga para pejabat Gereja, dan bahkan mungkin keluarganya sendiri. Amplop tersebut memunculkan pertanyaan: Apa yang sebenarnya terjadi selama masa jabatan Yohanes Paulus I yang amat singkat? Rencana apa yang digagalkan pada malam bulan September 1978 itu? Siapa yang mendapat keuntungan atas kematian Paus?

Gramedia Pustaka Utama 2011

Jamie: What a great find at my apartments giveaway table. I enjoyed reading it, but the ending was a bit disappointing. I hope there will be a sequel to finish the story. Rocha is a talented writer and if you enjoy conspiracy theories in spiritual matters, then you will definitely enjoy reading "The Last Pope".

Matt: Rocha weaves a historical event with great action. He pulls no punches when it comes to the corrupt nature of the Vatican and presents a strong 'assassination' rationale for the death of Pope John Paul I. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and the interspersed historical explanations of key Vatican characters.

Kayla: I was so disappointed with this book. Things did not flow and the characters were so chopped up by the end that I wanted to just fling it away in disgust. I really had high hopes for this one, but I think something of it's elegance must have been lot in translation.

Monique: Pure dreck...tried to finish it, but struggled. Because I can't stand to know the ending of a book, I skimmed the last 50 pages and was rewarded with...nothing. Yawn. Boring and confusing and poorly written. I still think a much better book could have been created based on the premise, but, sadly, it wasn't. Don't bother...

Joanne: A thriller about the conspiracy surrounding the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I. It is to much the same as the The Da Vinci Code story. He's also the author of The Holy Bullet and The Pope's Assassin. All of which deal with the conspiracy in Catholic Church. My problem is like the Da Vinic Code people will not separate fact with friction.

Katarina: Overall it was not a bad story it just didn't catch my attention the way some others do.
Story is told through series over overlaying retrospective stories and present day happenings gradually trying to show the reader the whole picture.

Plot:In 1978 the Pope John Paul 1 died after only about a month in office. This is the event starting a chain reaction almost 25 years later, when Father Firenzi of the Vatican archives sends out 2 letters telling about it to the wrong person. To salvage the situation he sends one more letter getting killed in the process.

The third letter is the spark that starts the action as Sarah Monteiro, the recipient, desperately tries to stay alive and ahead of the bad guys. Luckily she is not alone and has help in form of the mysterious double-agent Rafael sent by her father who knows more than is good for anyones health.

I am not going to spoil the rest of the story for you if you want to read it. It is a fairly good read if you are looking around for some moderately thrilling story and if you love conspiracies.

And as much as it wasn't all that surprising through out, it is a conspiration theory book so you kind of expect the unexpected, it gave me a little surprise at the end. I admit i found that one hilarious :)

Goncalo: Adiciono aqui um dos imensos thrillers históricos que tenho na estante, curiosamente um dos menos interessantes que li.

Luís Miguel Rocha, farto de andar de volta das missas da TVI, cria um enredo em torno do assassinato de João Paulo I. A história é contada através de Sarah Monteiro, uma jornalista portuguesa, que recebe uma lista de nomes, sem saber o que significa, e onde também está o seu pai.

A partir daqui podem imaginar o conteúdo do livro. Muita acção a ritmo acelerado, tiros e respiração sustida. Aqui o que falha são algumas das situações forçadas, e personagens mal definidas, ou com participações dispensáveis. Mesmo assim é um livro entretido, que sendo o primeiro do autor não é nada decepcionante.

A primeira edição foi vendida no primeiro mês de venda, pertencendo o meu livro à segunda, por isso a aceitação terá sido bastante boa.

Bernadette: Pope John Paul I reigned over the Catholic Church for 33 days in 1978. The premise of this book is that he was murdered. By a shadowy group called the P1 who are, for the record, more dastardly and secretive than the dastardly and secretive P2. Thirty years later a journalist receives a list of names. An Italian man tries to kill her. So does the CIA. Someone whose name isn’t Jack Payne tries to stop them. Oh, and the Americans can’t kill Castro.

Though odd, the above paragraph makes more sense than the book (and it’s a heck of a lot shorter so you should thank me for saving you).

The Last Pope has the Vatican, a pretty young woman, a rascally, acerbic offsider for the aforementioned young woman, a secret code, photographs with images that can only be seen under ultra-violet light, a list of shadowy figures, Masons and a seduction scene.

If all it took to make a great thriller was the sum of such parts then The Last Pope would have been readable. But a thriller needs more than the right ingredients. So it wasn’t. Readable that is. Reasons include: The writing is pedestrian (for example within three short paragraphs the same man is described as having perspiration streaming down his face, hands slippery with sweat, perspiration clouding his eyes and being in a cold sweat) (even if the original Portuguese has four different words for sweat I doubt there was a need to use them all in one page)

The construction is bamboozling with its short chapters jumping in time from 1978 to earlier to the present and, for all I know, several periods in between. Some of these jumps are identified by chapter headings but many are not (to the point that I began to think that someone dropped the manuscript on the way to the printer and all the chapters got put back together out of order)

Many of the characters have no names (The Italian Man, The Master, The Subject etc) but this is balanced out by the fact that those who do have names have several each. So it’s usually about as clear as mud who is talking or being referred to.

Perhaps worst of all is that the thing doesn’t know if it wants to be a novel (i.e. fiction) or an expose (i.e. fact). In a bizarre author interview that appears at the end of the book Mr Rocha claims that it’s all true and that the character of JC (who is the assassin) (trust me that isn’t a plot spoiler) is based on the real assassin who he (Mr Rocha has spoken with). I might be more inclined to swallow all this if the author hadn’t in the same interview also said (1) Assumptions will be replaced by confirmed facts in a future edition (2) He has never received a bad review (he has, I’ve read them and claiming they don’t exist is on par with me claiming the chocolate cookies I ate this morning didn't exist because I closed my eyes) and (3) The reason the Catholic Church hasn’t made a fuss about this book is they know it’s true (which is absurd because the book suggests that anyone who tells the truth about all this will get a bullet to the head so I think Mr Rocha's claims to street cred in the conspiracy community would have been improved if he said he'd been shot at and then gone into hiding).

Honestly I’d have stopped reading this book at about page 60 but it was a pick of my book club and I DNF’d the last one so felt a little obliged to finish it. Plus I have to admit to a perverse pleasure in seeing how bad it would get.

If you want a thriller set in and around the Vatican that doesn’t treat its audience like morons read God's Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado. Or any other book you can find.

My real rating is half a star.