While out with my family a few weeks back we stopped at a WHSmiths in a service station and I saw some books which took my fancy. As I had a voucher I picked them up to buy. One of the books was “The Papal Decree” by Luis Miguel Rocha.

The book appears to be one of a series of books following the same characters, although it worked well enough as a stand alone story. One of the first things which I found off-putting in the book was the introduction of characters though. It seemed the first quarter of the book was spent introducing everybody and his dog. One character was introduced over a few pages and killed off in a few sentences. Seemed pretty pointless except to show the ruthlessness of the bad guys I suppose.

The story moved along nicely once it got going though, with the plot following an attempted usurping of the power of the Roman Catholic church.  The central characters stacked up on each side of the story with our heroes obviously on the side of good. There was also a little pseudo history in their of the Roman Catholic religion and the genesis of some of its rituals, being a fictional story though they may not all be true, just used to enhance the tale.

A little mystery, a little history and a lot of characters and places to keep track of seemed to slow down parts of the story for this reader though. It was easy to lose track of who was who too, especially as some characters were referenced by different names as they went along, sometimes first names, then last names, and one with a couple of Pseudonyms was often confused as to who he was and what he was doing.

Another point to consider is that the book is a translation, and in places it seems as though something may have lost out in that process of changing language. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time you wouldn’t know it was a translation as it has been done well, but Just a nuance here or a phrase which doesn’t have an equivalent can change the feel of a page I would guess, but whatever it was some paragraphs seemed a little lacklustre compared to the better parts which grabbed my interest.

As the book was on a buy one get one half price deal I think it came out worth it in the end as the half price deal, and it can be picked up at a reasonably low cost in Penguin Paperback from Amazon online.

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