* The Pope’s Conspiracy – a short description

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012

It is 1478 at the very peak of the Italian Renaissance. The Pope’s targets for assassination are Lorenzo de Medici, the wealthiest and most powerful man in Europe, and his brother Giuliano.

Benjamin and Esther Catalán are Jews who have escaped the claws of the Spanish Inquisition and have come to Florence under Lorenzo’s patronage to establish one of Italy’s first printing presses. The young couple are also driven by the dream of Benjamin’s martyred parents that they not only survive, but do so as an observant Jewish family.

As the fast-paced plot moves forward, Benjamin and Esther’s often heroic struggle to build their new lives is set against the evolving progress of the Pope’s plan to murder the Medici brothers. Esther Catalán, a woman unlike any other ever seen in Florence, shows blazing intelligence and engaging style as she sets the Catalán Press on a path to print previously unpublished works of Plato and the Jewish Talmud. Benjamin Catalán surprises Lorenzo with his boldness and political acumen and also develops a close friendship with Giuliano. Both Benjamin and Esther become integral participants in the cultured and opulent Medici inner circle.

Directed from the Vatican, the net around Lorenzo and Giuliano tightens. Rumors of a possible attack are reported by Medici spies. Benjamin joins with the Medici brothers to thwart the conspiracy, even as Lorenzo refuses to believe the Holy Father is brazen enough to attempt murder.

Based on actual historical events, The Pope’s Conspiracy is a tensely drawn portrait of political intrigue at the highest levels, and of a talented and ambitious Jewish couple enmeshed in events beyond anything they might have imagined.


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