How do men with power and influence rise to the top? Is it through naked ambition, altruism, self-interest or luck?
A new young pope is elected. Five years later he mysteriously disappears. It is immediately apparent to the church elite that he has, as Arthur Daley would have said, ‘done a runner.’ What on earth is going on? Why has he done it? Where is he? Will he return?
The search for the absconder is led by the Vatican’s Machiavellian secretary of state and soon involves: an openly gay bishop and his policeman partner; the Sicilian mafia; a peculiar band of militaristic religious hermits, and even a BBC natural history presenter.
The story can be read at different levels. First, it is a ‘ripping yarn’ with larger than life characters and is set in exotic locations ranging from an impoverished Caribbean island to the Dolomites. It deals with concepts such as temptation, betrayal, ambition, disillusion and fear of death. Ultimately, it is a thought-provoking story of sacrifice and redemption posing the question: what does it mean to be a ‘good man’.