The Caravaggio Conspiracy
Caravaggio was the greatest artist since Titian, a favourite of Popes and wealthy bankers. But at a timewhen the resurgent Ottoman Empire was planning a second wave of conquest, he discovered a secret sodark that it threatened the very existence of the Catholic Church.The secret endures. Four hundred years later, Declan O’Malley, the first Irish-born Superior Generalof the Society of Jesus, learns that his friend, the German Cardinal Horst Rüttgers, has died in mysteriouscircumstances. With his nephew Liam Dempsey he tries to uncover the truth, bringing him into conflictwith the sinister and virulently anti-Muslim Cardinal Bosani – Camerlengo, or High Chamberlain, of theHoly Roman Church – in charge of the upcoming Conclave to elect a new Pope.
As the two prelates grapple, Dempsey finds a bizarre link between Bosani and Caravaggio’smasterpiece, ‘The Taking of Christ’, lost for 200 years until it emerged in 1999 in the unlikely setting of theJesuit house in Dublin. The painting turns out to be more than a sublime depiction of Christ’s seizure in theGarden of Gethsemane; it is also the key to a centuries-old conspiracy of evil. Can O’Malley and Dempsey,aided by the cool and resourceful Maya Studer, daughter of the Commandant of the Swiss Guard, preventBosani from re-igniting a calamitous war between Europe and the Muslim World?
WALTER ELLIS is a journalist who worked as a feature writer and foreign correspondent for The Irish Times,Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times. He is the author of two non-fiction books, The OxbridgeConspiracy, about elitism in British higher education, and The Beginning of the End, a memoir of growing up inBelfast as best friend to the man who would become the INLA’s most ruthless assassin. Both books were widelyreviewed and serialized. The author now lives in New York.