Monday, October 27, 2008

The Secret Cardinal by Tom Grace

I picked up this book because I thought it was going to be similar to Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. I was quickly proved wrong. Yes, it involved the Catholic church. However, there was no mystery to be solved.

Yin Daoming is a priest in the People's Republic of China. He has been imprisoned most of his career as a priest. He attained the rank of bishop, but was unable to attain a higher rank due to the need of Cardinals to make a trip to Rome to accept their positions. Unbeknownst to the world, he has been made a cardinal in pectore, a Secret Cardinal by the Pope.

The Pope knows his life is coming to an end, and he wants Yin freed. He sets Nolan Kilkenny to the task, along with a group of Chinese men in the armed forces. Soon after he turns this group to the task, he passes away, starting the Conclave to choose the next Pope. Surprisingly, Yin's name shows up to be counted among the papabile, those eligible to become the next Pope.

Yin will be unable to assume the office of Pope if he is not rescued from the Chinese prison where he has spent decades of his life. Kilkenny puts a dangerous plan in place that has a slim chance of success.

I won't give away the ending, but it left me in tears. I really enjoyed that the author brought an issue to light that I wasn't really aware of--the plight of Catholics in China. There was an afterword by the author with several facts, and I think I will probably do some more reading on the subject in the future.

This book was more adventure than religion. However, if you're not interested in religion or the Catholic Church, I would avoid this book. I felt like the details were well-researched. If they weren't (and I don't know enough to say for sure), they were definitely believable! Great book.

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