Monday, April 22, 2013

Mini Review: A Pius Man by Declan Finn


Summary:  As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope's latest project is to make Pius XII, "Hitler's Pope," a saint. Things haven't gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan.

Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep.

Soon, a pattern emerges-- people who go into the Pius XII historical archives are dying. Each time, a priest has been in the background-- a priest close to the Pope. One of the victims was an al-Qaeda operative, drawing Scott "Mossad" Murphy of Israeli intelligence to Rome.

Soon, Ryan, Murphy and Figlia must join forces to unravel the mystery around the Vatican, as even the man Giovanni is supposed to protect looks like a suspect. To get out of this alive, they must discover if Hitler's Pope was a Nazi collaborator, or a pious man.


At that moment, part of the building they were passing exploded out and down on them. From six stories up, a set of windows shattered, pouring debris down on their vehicle.

And a moment later, a heavy object landed on the car hood, smashing the windshield. Giovanni Figlia instinctively swerved away from the explosion, and braked hard. The object on his windshield stayed there …

After a few seconds, Wilhelmina and Giovanni got out of the car and studied the scene, wondering if it was safe to go check the damage. She bounced up on her toes to check what had killed Figlia’s car. It was the body of a young-looking, olive-skinned male...without a face.

“Between 25 and 35?” Figlia asked.

“...Sounds like a serial-killer profile,” she answered.

Giovanni grunted and again wanted to reach for his gun. He glanced at the short, pixie-like woman and muttered, “Damn Americans. Here for fifteen minutes and Dante’s Inferno rises to surface level.”

The only carabinieri in the area ran to the scene, leaving his motorcycle behind. He let out a small string of curses, ran back to his vehicle, and immediately radioed for help.
The police were the first responders, followed immediately by the fire department. The firemen quickly moved to douse the flames with the fire hose when Giovanni Figlia tackled the main man on the hose, grabbing him before he could attach the hose to its water supply.

“What are you doing?” the fireman growled. He tried to fight back, but Figlia had already locked one arm into place, totally immobilizing him.

“You’re going to wash away all evidence of the bomb. Use a fire extinguisher or buckets.”

Figlia released him and pulled out his badge wallet before someone pulled a weapon on him. He flashed his identification. “Commandatore Giovanni Figlia, Vatican’s Central Office of Vigilance. That body over there is dead, and not only is my car a secondary crime scene, do you see that line?” He pointed to a white painted line on the cobblestone street. “Sixty years ago, the Nazis put that line down to clearly mark the territory. This side, right now, is Rome.” He sidestepped to in front of his car and pointed toward the colonnade of St. Peter’s Basilica. “Where I’m standing now is Vatican City.”

Mini Review:  If you enjoy thrillers that are big on excitement and action, and heavy on detail with a lot of research well applied, then A Pius Man is for you.  

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