> Skip to content
Read an extract About the book
  • Published: 19 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241985489
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

The Two Popes

Official Tie-in to Major New Film Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins




The remarkable true story of the odd couple in the Vatican - the two living Popes

From the prize-winning screenwriter of The Theory of Everything and Darkest Hour, The Two Popes is a fascinating, revealing and gripping tale of two very different men whose destinies converge with each other - they both live in the Vatican - and the wider world.

On 28 February 2013, a 600-year-old tradition was shattered: the conservative Pope Benedict XVI made a startling announcement. He would resign. Reeling from the news, the College of Cardinals rushed to Rome to congregate in the Sistine Chapel to pick his successor. Their unlikely choice? Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,200 years, a one time tango club bouncer, a passionate football fan and a man with the common touch.

How did these two men become two of the most powerful people on Earth?
What's it like to be the Pope?
What does the future hold for the Catholic Church and its 1 billion followers?

The Two Popes is a dual biography that masterfully combines these two popes' lives into one gripping narrative. From Benedict and Francis' experiences of war in their homelands - when they were still Joseph and Jorge - and the sexual abuse scandal that continues to rock the Church to its foundations, to the intrigue and the occasional comedy of life in the Vatican, The Pope glitters with the darker and the lighter details of life inside one of the world's most opaque but significant institutions.

  • Pub date: 19 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241985489
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

About the Author

Anthony McCarten

Anthony McCarten’s novels have been translated into 14 languages. His collection of short stories, A Modest Apocalypse, was shortlisted in the Heinemann-Reed Fiction Award in 1991. Death of a Superhero won the 2008 Austrian Youth Literature Prize and was a finalist for the German Youth Literature Prize. It was made into an international film, starring Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Andy Serkis, and won the Prize of the Public and the Prize of the Youth Public at the Les Arcs European Film Festival in December 2011.He has also written numerous stage plays, including co-writing the world-wide success Ladies Night, which won the prestigious Molière prize, the Meilleure Pièce Comique in 2001. While most of his novels have been turned into successful feature films by other film-makers, McCarten directed Show of Hands himself, as well as his adaption of his play Via Satellite.

Blick, Zurich, declared of Death of a Superhero: ‘Not since Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum have the pains of growing up been rendered this powerfully.’ Der Spiegel (online) concluded: ‘A fantastic novel and a small revolution for the literary form. This novel makes one sick with yearning for more such texts, which are sensitive without being kitschy, which don’t mistake coolness for cynicism, which don’t pretend that movies, comics, video games, internet just don’t exist . . . It is impossible to present our modern world of perceptions more adequately and vividly.’

John McCrystal in The New Zealand Listener called In the Absence of Heroes ‘witty, humane and dazzingly clever’ and ‘a damned fine novel’, pinpointing McCarten’s ‘strong plots and superb dialogue’ as not only a writing strength but a reason why his work lends itself so well to screen adaptation. The Dominion Post Weekend praised In the Absence of Heroes: ‘McCarten’s deft and crisp writing, his blend of the online action with the real world, and remarkable sense of pace, make this a lively and intelligent book. It’s a thriller, of a kind, but it’s the flawed and engaging characters who drive this novel. Oddly human and grounded, it is rich and invigorating.’

Also by Anthony McCarten

See all

Related titles