El Paso

El PasoEl Paso by Winston Groom
Published by Recorded Books on January 1st 1970

Goodreads

Three decades after the first publication of Forrest Gump, Winston Groom returns to fiction with this sweeping American epic.
Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early 20th century, Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this sprawling saga of heroism, injustice, and love. An episodic novel set in six parts, El Paso pits the legendary Pancho Villa, a much-feared outlaw and revolutionary, against a thrill-seeking railroad tycoon known as the Colonel, whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico.
But when Villa kidnaps the Colonel's grandchildren in the midst of a cattle drive and absconds into the Sierra Madre, the aging New England patriarch and his adopted son head to El Paso, hoping to find a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt the generalissimo down.
Replete with gunfights, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso, with its textured blend of history and legend, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the waning days of the frontier.

I have to say I love the cover for this book. It really draws you in, I could hardly wait to listen to this book. Expecting the second coming of Edna Ferber’s Giant I settled in for a good listen.

Take a fading railroad tycoon from Boston, an adopted son trying to hold together his fathers railroad,two small children and Mexican Revolutionary and you have the makings for EL Paso. I have to say it is a great story line, rich gringos with their multi million acre ranches with hundreds of thousands head of cattle and one desperado out to prove to the world just how notorious he is should make a great read. I just couldn’t take the book seriously, there wasn’t the depth needed to make this a serious work of historical fiction. Simply put the characters lacked depth, and that detracted from the story.

Conclave

ConclaveConclave by Robert Harris, Roy McMillan
Format: audiobook
Published by Audiobooks on September 22nd 2016

Goodreads

The Pope is dead.
Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.
They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.
Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

Many years ago, my brother and I saw a play called Hadrian the Seventh, which was based on a book by the same name. The gist of the story is that two members of the Roman Catholic church visit a pathetic Englishman whom failed at becoming a priest; they make him a priest and take him back to the Vatican where he is elected Pope. Instead of having control over this rather pathetic fellow, he goes on to have his way with the Roman Catholic church. So any time I read a book about the Vatican I always think of Hadrian the Seventh.

Robert Harris has taken another tack, which has been written about before but Harris does such an excellent job that you really won’t mind. Using current day politics of growing place the third world, race and ethics Harris takes us through the election of a Pope. As we all know the Roman Catholic church is going faster in the third world than it is in the “old world”, so as the Vatican prepares to pick its newest Pope there are a lot of unknowns. It appears that the former Pope did somethings that no one was aware of until after his death.

A good read, but not something I see happening.