Fiction 2018 / 377 pages
Genre: Thriller & Suspense
Of Bread & Wine
Monsignor Rob Cavalieri heard the deathbed confession of Cardinal Masellis. The Cardinal unburdened his heavy heart. His terror of eternal judgment urged him to reveal his participation in numerous dishonest ventures. The Mafia Cardinal confessed specific details about the death of Pope John Paul I. He spoke about the priceless Coins of Gregorio.
In Of Bread and Wine
, Edward Izzi addresses the subject of placing trust in a corrupt clergy. The story occurs in Rome and concerns the historical facts surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I. The author manifests an extraordinary knowledge of these events. The writing style and pacing of the story keep you turning the pages.
Michael, as the main character, tells his story from the first-person point of view. The remaining sections of the story apply the universal third person point of view. This approach works well and allows the reader to understand the actions of all the characters.
Izzi does a wonderful job of moving the reader through a diverse emotional gamut. There are many scenes to warm the heart. Readers celebrate the romance between Michael and Sienna. An emotional reunion between long-lost family members moves you to tears. These scenes contrast with other spine-chilling images. The treacherous activities of the mafia cause your heart to pound and your blood to chill.
The other main character in the story is the press. Izzi explores the manner in which journalists acquire their material. Readers must judge whether their actions are ethical or self-serving.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The story line, pacing, and research done by the author were excellent. I recommend this book to people who enjoy stories about scandals in the church. This book exposes the temptations power places before even the holiest and most honored among us. This story would also fascinate anyone who appreciates thrillers.
Chicago criminal attorney Michael Prescott is on holiday in Rome, and visits with his best friend, Monsignor Robert Cavalieri, a Special Diplomat to the Vatican. He is informed by “Fr. Rob” that Giovanni Cardinal Masellis, the “Mafia Cardinal”, who was once considered the most evil and influential cardinals at the Vatican in his day, has made a deathbed confession to him before his passing as to the details of the death and poisoning murder of Pope John Paul I. Masellis confesses to also spearheading the massive cover-up surrounding the pope's poisoning death in September, 1978. Unfortunately, his confession is secretly recorded by the Italian newspaper “La Republicca” and their ambitious editor, Max Gianforte. He desperately tries to find other sources within the Vatican to confirm the Cardinal's deathbed revelations. The Vatican is now concerned over the effects such media disclosure will have on the reputation of the Catholic Church. Almost forty years after the mysterious death of the pope, the Vatican is imbrued with the various documents and specific details regarding the circumstances of his death, especially the missing “Coins of Gregorio” a priceless gift donated by an influential Italian mobster, Don Giancarlo Cesario, the night before Pope John Paul I's murder. The gift was an attempt to bribe and influence His Holiness in the Vatican investigation into the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, for which the Cesario Family and Cardinal Masellis was significantly involved.
Novelist Edward IzziMeanwhile, wine master Marco DiVito, the former Vatican head of security and a distant cousin of the Cesario Family, now oversees his vineyard near the foothills of Rome. He is nervous and apprehensive over meeting his long lost daughter, Sienna DiVito. She is a prominent investigative journalist with the Washington Post, and DiVito abandoned her as a little girl in Boston over twenty years ago. The Post has asked her to investigate “one of the biggest stories to come out of the Vatican in decades.” Michael meets Sienna after losing his wallet at the Café Michelangelo in Rome, and after a few chance meetings, they begin a relationship. They set in motion their investigative search together into the certainty of Masellis's deathbed revelations, but Michael never reveals his relationship with the Vatican. He tries to temper her investigative efforts in discovering the truth of the Pope John Paul I's death.
As rumors swirl around Rome after the death of Cardinal Masellis, Italian crime boss Calogero "Don Charlie” Cesario believes that the actual murderer also possesses these missing, priceless coins. The crime family is also unhappy with the La Republicca and their intention to insinuate their family's involvement in the beloved Pope's poisoning death. He points his suspicions towards DiVito, and threatens him to either return the missing coins to the crime family or there will be “dire” consequences towards him and his beloved daughter.
These revelations of the Vatican's most corrupt Cardinal and the Mafia's search for the return of their missing heirloom coins threaten the lives of Michael and Sienna, and their investigative search reveals the total corruption and instability of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.