BY DAVID V BARRETT
PIERS PAUL READ’S latest novel has been turned down by his agent for being “too Catholic”.
The novel, entitled The Death of a Pope, is a thriller about terrorism set during the 2005 conclave following the death of John Paul II.
A laicised Jesuit priest is one of three men on trial for plotting a terrorist explosion. An aid worker for a Catholic refugee agency working in the Darfur region of Sudan, the former priest was involved in a plot to use sarin gas to kill the livestock of the Arab militias who had been brutalising the refugees. He is deeply committed to the refugees and makes a convincing argument for his social gospel.
The novel begins with a quotation from Guardian writer Polly Toynbee, who once wrote that the Pope “kills millions through his reckless spreading of Aids”.
The Death of a Pope has already been published to critical acclaim in America. But Mr Read’s agent in Britain, Gillon Aitken of Aitken Alexander Associates, told him he had to take out some of the Catholicism for the British market, according to a Sunday Times report.