Tales from the Vatican Vaults. Book Review

Edited by David V. Barrett
Robinson Publishing, p/b, 576pp, £9.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Tales from the Vatican Vaults is a combination of Warehouse 13, the X-Files and the Librarians, but in a historical setting.

The basic premise is that Pope John Paul I didn’t die a month after the start of his papacy in 1978, but instead led the Catholic Church for more than 30 years, reforming it almost beyond recognition, and releasing the contents of some of the most secret archives of the Vatican Library. These archives contain tales of the lives of saints and popes, of miracles, magic and aliens throughout the history that we thought we knew.

These stories begin in 850AD with “The Tale of Pope Joan”, which tells of a race of shapeshifters, one of whom becomes pope. Another tale details how a fallen angel was an advisor to Pope Theophylact, while another tells of time travelling historians from the distant future paying a visit to the 11th century.

The authors of the myriad tales contained within this volume conjure up worlds that seem familiar, but have unexpected twists that transform them out of our understanding. A superb collection of stories that challenge the history that we thought we knew, adding in unexpected elements of the fantastic.