Martin has written of the Conclave, the secret ceremony wherein certain designated bishops elect the next Pope. What is not generally understood is the degree of politics and pressures that accompany the election of every Pope. Today, with the waning of Catholicism, the emphasis is not on theology or who can lead the Church Triumphant. Instead it is on how best the Church can function in an increasingly secular society.
Martin has all the key players - the traditionalists hankering for the days of Latin and total obedience, the Liberation Theology type heady with leftist ideology, the "continue the same at all costs" type and the "let's form an alliance with secular groups" type. It is difficult to grasp the author's own prejudices (I think a combination of traditional and make new friends). The story is based on the politicking that went into making John Paul I the Pope and his alleged "betrayal" once he understood how dire the situation really was. Although it is dated, it is still a good read.