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Morris West Books In Order

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Publication Order of The Vatican Trilogy Books

The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Clowns of God (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lazarus (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Moon in My Pocket (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mask of Marius Melville (1945)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Illusionists (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gallows on the Sand (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kundu (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Big Story / The Crooked Road (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Concubine (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Second Victory / Backlash (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
McCreary Moves In (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Devil's Advocate (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Naked Country (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
Daughter of Silence (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ambassador (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tower of Babel (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Summer of the Red Wolf (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Salamander (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Harlequin (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Navigator (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Proteus (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The World Is Made of Glass (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cassidy (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Masterclass (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ringmaster (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lovers (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vanishing Point (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eminence (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last Confession (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

Publication Order of Collections

Selected Works (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Children of the Sun (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
A View from the Ridge (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Images And Inscriptions (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Morris Langlo West was a New York Times bestselling Australian author of crime, thriller, literature, and fiction books. He was born in St. Kilda, Melbourne, and, at 14, joined the Christian Brothers seminary to seek refuge from his difficult childhood. He graduated from the University of Melbourne and worked as a teacher. He quit the Christian Brothers in 1941 without taking his final vows. During the Second World War, he served as a code breaker and served for a time as private secretary for former prime minister Billy Hughes.

After World War Two, West became a successful author and producer of radio serials. He left Australia in 1955 to build an international career as a writer. He lived in Italy, England, Austria, and the USA and returned to Australia in 1982. He wrote 30 books and many plays, and some of his plays and books were adapted for film. His novels sold over 60 million copies globally and were published in over 28 languages. He won several accolades and awards, including the W.H. Heinemann Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

The Shoes of the Fisherman
The Shoes of the Fisherman is the first book in the Vatican trilogy, published in 1963. It was one of the several novels he wrote focusing on the theme of Catholicism. The book starts with the death of a pope and the storyline follows the process of electing a new pope.

Upon publication, the book was widely popular, selling millions of copies across the globe, and spent several weeks on the New York Time Bestseller list, becoming one of West’s most popular books.

It was also adapted into a movie by the same name five years after its initial publication. The film ran along similar lines as the novel, but it had more emphasis on the pressure caused by famine across China and the threat of nuclear war. In the movie, the pope decides to sell all the church assets to feed the hungry, but his decision only creates a strong rebellion within the church.

As the book begins, we meet Kyril Lakota, who once served as a priest in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. He had been arrested and imprisoned in a Siberian prison for over a decade. Lakota was recently released after the international community pressured the soviets and threatened to release crucial information if the priest wasn’t released. Surprisingly, the chief interrogator facilitated his release, and upon arriving home, Lakota discovered the pope who had made him a cardinal had just died.

Events unfold, and Lakota is elected as the next pope while his former interrogator becomes the premier of the USSR.

Morris L. West’s novel is subdivided into three major subplots. In the first subplot, an American journalist named George Faber. He is famously known for the accurate and dated news he can gather from the Vatican. But like any man, he’s facing his demons, caught in an affair with Chiara, the ex-wife of a rising politician. Chiara separated from her husband shortly after they married, and she’s seeking an annulment from the pope so she can marry Faber.

On the other hand, in his greed to get his affair problem resolved so they can marry, Faber pays a witness to testify that Chiara’s ex-husband (Corrado) is homosexual. But Corrado soon finds out about this scheme and ruins Faber’s Vatican’s connections, hence destroying the conduit of communication he once had with the Vatican. The plan ruins Faber’s professional and personal lives, leaving him with suicidal thoughts.

In the second subplot, we meet a Jesuit priest and French scholar, Jean Telemonde, a controversial scientist and theologian who’s spent his entire life learning about church theology. He’s exiled from the church, forbidden to publish his work which some people consider unorthodox, but has now been summoned to present his research findings to Cardinal Leone. Leone and Lakota anticipate that Jean’s work will be positively received, paving the way for modern thinking in a church deeply rooted in traditions. But soon, the Holy Office decides what Jean has presented goes against the church doctrine, and they decline to accept his findings.

In the third part of the novel, pope Lokota plays a crucial role in assisting Kamenev, the leader of the Soviet Union, in communicating with the US president without the intrusion from bureaucratic puppets from both sides who often oversee their communication as well as attending their meetings. The pope helps him create a private communication channel between the two great leaders, enabling them to speak openly and more effectively, reducing nuclear war tensions. As the two presidents talk and negotiate their way through the dangerous grounds of cold war politics, any mishap and misstep in communication could trigger a world conflict. The fewer involved in this dialogue, the less chance there will be mistakes.

Morris West has created a perfect intimacy between the readers and the pope. He allows us to get a chance to listen to the pope’s personal thoughts, especially through the excerpts from his diary and his thoughts during his wanderings at night. This technique, the author uses, allows the pope to share his most personal thoughts and fears with hopes that he can make significant changes amid political machinations, furor and the backdoor dealing around him.

The narrative the author has created somehow foresaw the changes that happened in the Vatican in the following years after the publication of the book. Firstly, they elected a pope who wasn’t Italian, followed by the founding of Vatican II. This conclave modernized the church to keep members who were finding the church doctrine irrelevant in their modern lives. Lastly, Pope Kyril’s plans to travel across the world to meet his people foresaw the efforts of Pope Paul II, who was the first pope to complete these world travels.

In his book, Morris L. West describes the Catholic Church and how they perform its practices, rituals, pomp, and ceremonies. He also gives a vivid description of all backdoor dealings happening in the world, which is part of any famous bureaucratic organization where money, influence, and politics play an important role in decision-making.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Morris West

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