The Translation of Father Torturo
Brendan ConnellISBN: 0809500426;
Black magic and thuggery assist a Machiavellian priest's ascent to the papal throne in this predictable but gleefully subversive modern gothic. Xavier Torturo, a quiet but ambitious seminarian in rural Italy, gets entrusted with an ancient occult text about the translation of powers from the dead to the living. Soon thereafter, a relic of Saint Anthony disappears from its shrine, and Xavier—coincidentally?—shows the power to heal by the laying on of hands. Combining his newly developed talent for miracles with secular skills of blackmail and manipulation, Torturo secures his ticket to the Vatican, where his underlings' excesses and his own past indiscretions ultimately precipitate his swift and gruesome downfall. Connell paints a scabrous portrait of the Vatican as a site of absolute power that corrupts absolutely, but there's little to his story that hasn't been seen in more inventively plotted works. Its transgressive spirit notwithstanding, the novel is a highly moral tale...
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