Review: A Pius Stand

A Pius Stand

The concluding volume of Declan Finn’s Pius Trilogy, A Pius Stand gets still weirder yet. A giant invasion force in the thousands is organized by the International Community League of Evil. It attempts to storm the Vatican, but its soldiers do so in a type of vehicle that sets the tone for the book as a whole. Instead of lavishly described tanks, the League of Evil rides in…..


these

Don’t believe me:

Instead of walking up the middle of the Via della Conciliazione, they drove up the streets on either side—the Via dei Corridori, and Via Borgo Santo Spirito. And, since bringing in armored personnel carriers was too expensive, it was just cheaper to bring their soldiers to St. Peter’s Square with local buses. With each bus driving down the street side-by-side, this amounted to 140 buses shipping in seven thousand soldiers between both streets.

Once the battle actually starts, it’s a goofy spectacle that’s far more Home Alone than Zulu. This is due to the desire of the main characters to keep it as nonlethal as possible. There are Hollywood booby traps, stun beams, and, most ridiculously, cavalry charges with ex-stuntmen. Meanwhile, a League of Good consisting of everyone from NYPD officers to Israeli commandos to the IRA to mobsters (!) fights back and helps defeat the League of Evil.

Like I’ve said about the first two (comparably) tamer installments, this is not exactly anyone’s idea of a good book. But I’d take something weird like this over a thousand shoot-the-terrorist novels any day.

Review: A Pius Legacy

A Pius Legacy

If A Pius Man was weird, this is weirder. With the pope kidnapped and put on trial, a “thriller” ensues. This book suffers from a research failure comparable to that of a “Clive Cussler’s” novel where a random Brazilian spoke Spanish. Only that was a one-off not really central to the plot, and this concerns the main element. It has The Hague listed as being in Belgium. Repeatedly.

The same weird thriller elements continue in this installment. The political defenses of Catholicism turn into everything short of digging up the corpse of John XXIII for Cadaver Synod 2, Traditionalist Boogaloo. There are subplots reminding me of Lunnon-Wood’s Dark Rose where seemingly everyone both armed and Catholic turns into defenders of the Vatican.

This is a very quirky book. But I like quirky.

Review: A Pius Man

A Pius Man

Declan Finn’s A Pius Man is a very weird thriller. It was intended as a conservative Catholic response to The Da Vinci Code and its array of knockoffs, yet delays in the publication of the book had the unfortunate effect of making it appear after the trend had already gone away. So it’s like a scathing critique of disco music-that came out in 1989.

As for the book itself, it’s an awkward mixture of conventional thriller (see the central casting Thriller Protagonist!), out-there thriller (See the pope in his super-armor confront raised-from-childhood KGB assassins!), and a self-serious defense of Pius XII’s historical record that reads like a mediocre undergraduate essay. All this is clumsily shoved together.

I still wouldn’t call this book really “good”. But it’s at least different and a little distinct. Your liking of it will depend on your liking of difference for its own sake. It’s the “mean 51%” compared to stuff like Marine Force One or other rote “shoot the terrorist”‘s “median 51%”.