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A Trembling Upon Rome

A Trembling Upon Rome

(1983)
A novel by

 
Papal history without pomp, circumstance, or spirituality--as chilly novelist Condon (Prizzi's Honor, etc.) details the largely factual 1390-1415 story of Baldassare Cossa, a soldier/pimp/entrepreneur who became mercenary Pope John XXIII. . . and the fatalistic, much-betrayed pawn of rising banker Cosimo di Medici. The off-and-on narrator here is Franco Ellera, Jewish slave to the Cossas, a pirate-family of Naples; and when young Cossa is sent off to Bologna to begin studies for a lawyer/prelate career, Franco goes along as sidekick. But, while rising in academia and Bologna politics, Cossa also pursues his other life--as rake, pimp, thief (stealing a hoard of Papal gold), soldier-of-fortune. An atheist who has never taken holy orders, he becomes a cardinal largely because of his battlefield triumphs in fending off the current pope's enemies. And along the amorous way (317 conquests, not including courtesans), Cossa falls madly in love with two women: Catherine Visconti, wife of the Duke of Milan; and Decima Manovale--the super-courtesan who, working for the Medici Bank, uses her four daughters as bedroom diplomats and plots Cossa's way to the Papacy (as a ""conciliar"" pope to end the church's great Schism, an alternative to the feuding Rome/Avignon pontiffs). With slangy anachronisms and utter cynicism, Condon sometimes offers a bouncy--if only half-convincing--picture of the Church as Mafia. And he does manage to digest large chunks of complex Church-in-Schism history. But no one here, including ruthless-yet-passive Cossa, is even roughly sympathetic; the melodramatic episodes (some purely fictional) get lost amid all the historical detail; and, though free of the verbose stateliness usually found in pope novels, this lowdown, relatively breezy chronicle is more intriguingly informative than richly entertaining.

 
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Hardback Editions

September 1948 : USA Hardback
Title: Trembling Upon Rome
Author(s): Rh Value Publishing
ISBN: 0-517-49428-0 / 978-0-517-49428-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Value Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1983 : USA Hardback
Title: A Trembling upon Rome: A Work of Fiction
Author(s): Richard Condon
ISBN: 0-399-12834-4 / 978-0-399-12834-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T)
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 1983 : UK Hardback
Title: Trembling Upon Rome
Author(s): Richard Condon
ISBN: 0-7181-2241-0 / 978-0-7181-2241-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: M.Joseph
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

1994 : UK Paperback
Title: A Trembling Upon Rome
Author(s): Richard Condon
ISBN: 1-85501-572-2 / 978-1-85501-572-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Sheridan Book Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1984 : UK Paperback
Title: A Trembling Upon Rome
Author(s): Richard Condon
ISBN: 0-09-934210-3 / 978-0-09-934210-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Arrow
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1985 : USA Mass Market Paperback
Title: A Trembling upon Rome
Author(s): Richard Condon
ISBN: 0-523-42324-1 / 978-0-523-42324-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pinnacle Books (Mm)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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