September 1978. A few days after the election of the Smiling Pope, young Ernest travels to Rome. On his deathbed an old missionary has left him a compelling legacy: to have Sister Merita canonised. Before becoming a nun, Sister Merita was Ernest’s late mother dearest friend.

In Rome, Ernest stays in the dilapidated palazzo of postulator-fixer Livio and his daughter Stefania. They will steer Sister Merita’s file through the complex and labyrinthine Vatican canonisation process. Quickly Ernest loses his lire to Livio and his heart to Stefania but tolerates the blatant swindle. After all, he is in Rome on a very personal crusade for what the Almighty did to Ernest’s family on the day of his First Communion.

But as the murderous anni di piombo, the years of lead, seep into the story, unexpected alliances and even friendships emerge in and around the Vatican enclave, and Sister Merita’s case miraculously takes off in spectacular fashion.

Publisher: Manteau – Standaard Uitgeverij
Pages: 384
ISBN: 9789022339770
Publication date: 2023