Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

What is the best known book set in the Vatican?

See note on methodology

I'm glad to say that we are finishing this set of posts on a highbrow note. I have disqualified Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, not on the grounds of literary quality, but because as far as I remember much less than half of the book is actually set in the Vatican, with other parts of Rome getting a good deal of coverage. 

Instead, the top book with a Vatican setting, on both Goodreads (by a wide margin) and LibraryThing (by a smaller margin) is a 2003 work of non-fiction, recounting the story of how one of Europe's greatest artists spent four years creating probably the best known artwork in the Vatican. It sounds excellent and (when I eventually have some time) I will try and get hold of it myself. It is:

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, by Ross King

There are an awful lot of thrillers with Vatican scenery (looking particularly at the works of Daniel Silva here), and I have spent more time than is really necessary looking for those where the majority of the action is actually set there rather than just visiting to have a look. The most convincing candidate (on that criterion only) is a novel regarding the revelations of Fatima, spilling over into a papal conclave (which let's face is is the only newsworthy thing that ever happens in the Vatican these days). It is:

The Third Secret, by Steve Berry

Appropriate enough to finish up in the Vatican on Good Friday!
Tags: famous books by geography
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