Exhaustively researched and brilliantly executed… A riveting read.
Gioconda’s remarkable debut is a fictional yet relatively factual account of the 15th century Catholic Church history and the serial killer who lurked within it. Blending real events and historical reconstruction, the story follows Sebastian, an abandoned orphan raised by the Church, who is working tirelessly in his pursuit of priesthood. But when Father Heinrich Institoris, the Grand Inquisitor, assigns him to a dangerous assignment on behalf of the Church, Sebastian has no option but to agree. But soon, Father Heinrich’s sinister mission unfolds, setting Sebastian through dank crypts and crumbling abbeys in search of truth. Torn between duty and love, Sebastian must decide where his priorities lay. Gioconda’s prose is lively as he gives faces and voices to the true historical figures and events in the 15th century, exploring the prevalent corruption, poverty, the Church’s influence on the masses, class and gender inequality, and religious politics. There’s a nonstop supply of surprising twists and shocking revelations, plus a dash of tender moments of longing and love. The meticulously researched period details combined with intelligent writing and swiftly paced narrative keep the pages flying. This novel is everything popular historical thriller should be, diligently recreating a rich 15th century era, in which killing a person in the name of Christianity was relatively easy and serial killers could go virtually unnoticed. Gioconda’s engrossing storytelling and deeply realized setting and character turn what could be a grim story into a page-turning historical thriller. Gioconda is an author to watch.
THE POPE’S BUTCHER
Based on the True Story of a Serial Killer in the Medieval Vatican
By Joseph C. Gioconda
Pub date May 26, 2021
ISBN 978-1737286004Price $12.99 (USD) Paperback, $2.98 Kindle edition
Categories: Historical fiction