I wasn't expecting to enjoy this novel as much as I did! It has been a while since a book literally had me staying up half the night to finish it, but this one was worth it.
As the title suggests, the Catholic pope has just passed away, and the cardinals are gathering for Conclave in order to decide who should be their new leader. Although the setting is just about as static as one can possibly be, the plot was anything but. Robert Harris kept me guessing through each consecutive vote and all the behind the scenes machinations. In the end, I was more than satisfied with where he took his plot.
As an added bonus, I learned a great deal about the Catholic church's process and rules for conclave. As a non-catholic, I found all the backstory equally as interesting as I did the plot line itself. Also, frequently with thrillers I find that there is very little character depth and development; that was not the case here. Characters were well defined and grew along with the plot.