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The Pope's Assassin

"The Pope's Assassin" by Luis M. Rocha, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 388 pages, $25.95

So many conspiracies. So little time.

Here we have an international conspiracy over who really controls the Catholic Church, the duly elected pope or the Black Pope, the head of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). This is the third of a series of books involving Luis Rocha's usual characters, all familiar to his fans.

There is Father Rafael Santini, a former CIA operative who does the Vatican's dirty work, such as necessary assassinations. He teams up with Sarah Monteiro, a journalist who knows lots of the Vatican's deepest secrets. These two have an unfulfilled love, which causes much despair for both of them. Then there is the very mysterious JC, the puppet master who appears to be the Vatican's crime boss. They are all intriguing characters.

But now comes the possible exposure of 2,000-year-old secrets that threaten the very survival of the church and its long history. Bodies fly about, and millionaires find themselves involved, including a Jewish banker who funded the archaeological expedition that found the dark secrets.

Yes, as usual with these conspiracies, it all involves the real story of the life of Jesus Christ. Read it to see how it ends.

Francis Moul, Ph.D., is an environmental historian.

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