Four stars (of five)
Yallop shows how to make Vatican officials scatter like sheep with his tome that blows the lid off the untimely death of Pope John Paul I in the summer of 1978. The investigative report earned quick and negative feedback from within the Holy See shortly after its public release. However, as he outlines his arguments and supports them with numerous facts, Yallop makes a strong case that Albino Luciani, aka John Paul I, did not die by the hand of God, but with the assistance of his greatest enemies who lived and worked around him for his thirty-three day reign. While commencing with a detailed biography of Luciani, Yallop lays the groundwork to show how and why the Pope might have met much conflict when he assumed control of the Holy See. With his openness to birth control, dislike of the Vatican Bank policies, and desire to remove cardinals with known ties to Freemasonry from positions of power, Luciani set himself up for conflict and affixed crosshairs on his back. Yallop also details some of the insider knowledge of the highly secretive Conclave that brought Luciani to power and his open distain of the inner workings of Vatican rule. Luciani remained a selfless man and sought to bring that to his papacy, returning the Church’s message to professing Christ’s beliefs. Offering up not only motives, but numerous suspects, Yallop points fingers all over the Vatican’s inner circle, while also illustrating the extremely political side of the Vatican. Even in his discussion of the post-death events, Yallop shows how the cover-up sought to erase any possibility of foul play, though all the clues sit within the narrative. Stellar work with much information to support his assertions, Yallop has kept the Vatican on the defensive and created the greatest religious whodunit in Catholic Church history.
While there is much information through which the reader must sift to develop an adequate knowledge of the scene, Yallop lays much of it out through several detailed chapters. I do acknowledge that it is fairly inflammatory, but if the shoe does fit, one cannot simply deny its presence. By giving a multi-pronged theory and understanding all the areas in which Luciano might have developed enemies, Yallop offers the reader numerous theories and suspects on which they can ponder. Success comes from the reader’s inability to choose which one is the real one, and who might have caused the final demise. Riddled in controversy, Vatican officials not only had motive but opportunity to slay their leader. However, Yallop leaves the final determination in the reader’s hands as to who, what, and why it all went down.
Kudos, Mr. Yallop for this wonderful piece of work. I have heard about it for decades, and am glad that I finally took the time to read and open my mind to new conspiracy possibilities.