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Pope Pius XXIV is dying. A kindly but uninspiring man, elected by default, he left the running of the Church to Secretary of State, Cardinal Enrico Manzu who is secretly fronting a gigantic money laundering scam – with people outside the Vatican. When the Pope dies Manzu will have to get a new Pope who will – unwittingly – sign a Power of Attorney, which will enable him to carry on business as usual. The stranglehold of the Curia has split the church in two. With priests leaving in their thousands, the Pope’s refusal to permit married or women priests or deal with family planning, divorce and paedophilia: the church is in terminal decline.

Cardinal Angelo Crosoli in Florence, old and ill, knows this will be the last chance of electing a truly Christian Pope if the Church is to be saved. He knows who he wants, but can he do it?

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