Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2021
  • B095SZJSPY
  • 290 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2021
  • 978-1-7372860-0-4
  • 290 pages
  • $12.99
Joseph Gioconda
Author
THE POPE'S BUTCHER

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Abandoned as a child and raised by the Church, young Sebastian works tirelessly in his pursuit of priesthood. But when a shadowy hooded figure passes him a scroll, his careful plans face a turning point. It appears his name has drawn the attention of the Inquisition and his attendance is commanded at once—for retribution, information, or something else, he does not know. Father Heinrich Institoris the Grand Inquisitor is lauded as a visionary man, driven by a burning desire to cleanse the world of Eve’s original sin by eradicating witches. As Inquisition courts bloom across Europe, he vows to leave no stone unturned, no hovel unexamined, and no woman alive, in his search for justice. As the Inquisitor’s violent mission unfolds, Sebastian embarks on a quest through dank crypts, crumbling abbeys, and the darkest depravities known to man. Torn between duty and love when he encounters the beautiful pagan Brigantia, he fights to uncover the truth: of his past abandonment, the power of the occult, and just how far he’ll go to protect the Church he loves. A Church that is harboring deadly secrets. Inspired by true historical figures and events in the 15th Century, The Pope’s Butcher is not only a hair-raising work of suspense and espionage, but an astonishing account of religion and the occult in the Middle Ages. With an intriguing writing tone and a talent to create suspense and mystery from true events, Joseph C. Gioconda delivers a shocking story of serial murders within the Catholic Church. In writing his latest book, he has interviewed leading scholars in the U.S. and Europe and hired professional researchers to comb through newly discovered source material from Germany and Italy.
Reviews
In this taut historical drama set in the late 15th century, Gioconda offers an intriguing and gut-wrenching look at one of the Inquisition’s most infamous characters, the inquisitor Heinrich Institoris, the “Grand Inquisitor” who, as Gioconda puts it in an author’s note, stands as “perhaps the most prolific serial killer in human history.” Institoris summons the young novice Sebastian and dispatches him on a Church mission to research witchcraft and magic in all its forms. While Sebastian realizes that the women who practice the “witchcraft” that Institoris detests merely have a deep respect for nature, he still gets pulled into the hellish world of satanic worship. With the inquisitor’s presence and dark deeds looming over him, Sebastian finds himself torn between his beliefs and bringing the inquisitor to justice.

Sebastian’s characterization is one of the novel’s brightest spots. His desire to learn more about witchcraft and his admittedly anachronistic attitude toward women (he’s shocked to discover that Institoris’s book, The Malleus Maleficarum, is deeply sexist) will draw readers in to the grim milieu. Gioconda writes with a painterly sensibility, steeping readers in the milieu and its mysteries: “Eyeless generations of monks’ skulls gazed down at him,” he writes, of the inside of a crypt. With evocative prose and careful research, he captures the nuances of medieval Church politics and the frank realities of the prejudices of the time.

Gioconda’s use of modern expressions (a priest refers to a recently published book as “crazy”, and Institoris’s use of the term “field researcher”) and an emphasis on the alluring qualities of the bodies of the female characters are jarring additions that diminish the immersive intensity. An extensive bibliography and that letter from the author offer helpful context into the actual history behind Gioconda’s fictionalized account. For fans of the darker aspects of historical fiction, especially western religious history, The Pope’s Butcher will resonate.

Takeaway: A dark, well-researched story centered on the Inquisition’s most notorious killer.

Great for fans of: Theresa Breslin’s Prisoner of the Inquisition, Mitchell James Kaplan’s By Fire, By Water.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B-

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 06/2021
  • B095SZJSPY
  • 290 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2021
  • 978-1-7372860-0-4
  • 290 pages
  • $12.99

Loading...