L azarus is West's third novel about the modern Roman Catholic papacy. In it, conservative Pope Leo XIV undergoes major heart by-pass surgery.
He emerges from the operation a new man in several respects, most notably in his view of the future of his Church.
Through his protagonist, West explores the inner workings of the Vatican bureaucracy and how Church politics influence the doctrines that Catholics throughout the world are expected to follow. At the heart of the novel are two central questions. Should the Church continue as it has for centuries, recognizing the pronouncements of past popes as inviolable dictates, binding for all time? Or is it time for Rome to admit that dogmas imposed by former pontiffs need to be be modified to fit changing societies and advances in technology?
West is on the side of those who would like to see the Church initiate reforms and...