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Morris West - Thriller Legend

Morris West - Forgotten Legend.

Morris West, who died in 1999 was the master of the Papal Thriller. His novels, beginning with The Shoes of the Fisherman and ending with Eminence have become classics of modern fiction and the bench mark for the genre of Religious Trillers. I would like to introduce you to another of my favourite novelists and hopefully wet your appetite to go and try one of his books.

Morris West was born in Melbourne in 1916. He was a member of the Christian Brothers but left the order after 12 years. Around the time of the publication of his first novel in 1945, he worked in Melbourne radio but left Australia in 1955 to further his career as a writer. During his time away from Australia he lived in Austria, Italy, England and the USA. He returned to Australia in 1980. He wrote over thirty novels, many plays and several of his novels were adapted for film. Morris West died in 1999, while working at his desk.

His Papal / Vatican Thrillers

The Devil's Advocate

In the bare, rocky desolation of Calabria in Southern Italy, a cult of sainthood has grown around Giacomo Nerone, a mysterious figure who appeared in the last years of World War II.

A dying English priest, Blaise Meredith, is dispatched from Rome as a canonical inquisitor, a Devil's Advocate, to investigate Nerone's sainthood. In Calabria, Meredith finds the three who hold the key to the case: the disillusioned Jewish idealist and doctor, the redeemed woman of the night and the rapacious English contessa. Each holds a vital piece of the puzzle surrounding Nerone's enigmatic life and suspicious death, but all are locked into a conspiracy of silence. No matter how determined they are, Meredith must discover the key to their hearts-not only to unveil the mystery of Nerone, but to reveal a hidden secret at the heart of the Vatican.

The Shoes of the Fisherman

The Pope is dead. The corridors of the Vatican hum with intrigue as Cardinals gather from around the world to elect his successor. The result startles everyone, not least the man they had chosen: Kiril Lakota--a Russian, and survivor of seventeen years in the Soviet labor camps Now, the crises he must face as he ascends the Throne of St. Peter will test his faith and courage more strongly than the gulag ever did…



THE POPE: An iron-fisted reactionary, he conspired in the downfall of his predecessor earning many enemies in his climb to the top. Now he must face his own day of reckoning...

THE DOCTOR: He is first a surgeon--second, a Zionist, bitter over Rome's refusal to acknowledge the Jews. Performing heart surgery on the Vicar of Christ, he vows, “I want him to owe me his life”...

THE ASSASSIN: By day he is a businessman. By night, he leads the Sword of Islam. Now his greatest hour draws near--he has been chosen to kill the Pope!


The novel centers on Luca Rossini, once a young priest savagely tortured by the Argentinean military in the 1970s. To cover up the scandal, Rossini was taken back to Rome and kept in exile. Under the patronage of the reigning pontiff, he has become a cardinal, one of the Church's most efficient diplomats, and a member of the electoral college.

When the reigning pope dies, Rossini loses his patron---though not his power or his iron will--and his faith, already shaken by his past, is tested anew. On the eve of the papal election, the woman who saved his life and for whom, even in exile, he has nourished a deep and abiding love, comes again into his life. The wounds of the past are reopened, and Rossini finds himself in a new crisis of political responsibility and faces the turmoil of his own spirit.

This compelling drama of love and passion, political intrigue, and heady suspense shows once again why Morris West is one of the greatest novelists of our time.

Why not give these books a go - I read Eminence when I was 19 and I was hooked from the very beginning.

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