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Catholic theology and Cold War politics collide in this fictionalized retelling of an important religious event: the sudden passing of Pope John Paul I and the hastily arranged conclave to elect his successor.
When the pope dies of an apparent heart attack, the United States and Soviet Union go on high alert. The United States might be able to loosen communism’s stranglehold on Eastern Europe if a non-Italian successor is chosen to lead the Catholic Church. But the Soviets are determined to keep an Italian in the papacy. CIA and KGB agents infiltrate the Vatican as the two countries try to win this dangerous game.
Back stateside, army officer Carter Caldwell is sent to persuade American cardinals to wield their influence in the conclave. On his assignment, he meets beautiful CIA analyst Katherine O’Connor. Carter can’t get her out of his mind, although plenty of problems demand his attention.
Before the conclave is over, the Sistine Chapel will be bugged, a spy in the Vatican’s kitchen will be murdered, and CIA and KGB operatives will exchange gunfire. As the most important figure in the Catholic world is finally chosen, one question remains: Will he survive long enough to become pope?