latest book

latest book


Paul Vallely’s biography of the new Pope

Pope Francis: Untying the Knots - the Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism 

is published by Bloomsbury at £16.99

Buy it at a discount here 

US hardback available here 

 pop francis book hardback


Peter Stanford in The Sunday Times says:

“Paul Vallely’s biography of Francis…stands, in terms of seriousness of purpose and depth of understanding, head and shoulders above other recent rushed cuttings jobs”

Read Peter Stanford’s review here


Mark Lawson in The Guardian:

“Vallely gives riveting accounts of the “conclaves” in which first, in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was named Benedict XVI to follow John Paul II and then, in 2012, the first pope from the Americas was selected to succeed Benedict.”

“tough-minded analysis… lifts the book well above the nervous reverence of much papal biography, and should recommend it to an audience broader than Catholics”

“reads like a lost, unexpectedly literate chapter of The Da Vinci Code”

“it’s hard to imagine the rapid papal biography being done better”

read Mark Lawson’s review in The Guardian here


Michael Walsh in The Tablet:

“thoroughly convincing”

“Read this book, forget the rest”

read Michael Walsh’s review in The Tablet here


Raymond A Schroth SJ, in the US Jesuit magazine America:

“At last a book has put both Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, and Pope Francis in context, and explained the mystery of this man who seems to have come from nowhere to lead the Catholic Church at a critical time.”

“an honest portrait”

“Vallely meticulously assesses his subject”

read Raymond A Schroth’s review in America here


Luke Coppen in The Independent:

“Vallely skilfully unravels the competing narrative threads, without ever oversimplifying either Argentine politics or the new Pontiff’s complex personality”

“for such a sophisticated biography to appear now, less than six months after the papal election, is little short of a publishing miracle”

read Luke Coppen’s review in The Independent here


John Wilkins in the Church Times:

“in a different class from other instant biographies”

“a compelling account”

read John Wilkins review here:


Untying the Knots reviewed in The Economist:

“This book demonstrates that Pope Francis is a tougher, more complex figure than meets the eye. A turbulent life has given the pontiff a subtle sense of the realities of power, and the courage to act on it. Anybody who reads this book will eagerly await his next move.”

read The Economist review here


Tim Byron SJ reviews Untying the Knots in Thinking Faith – the online journal of the British Jesuits:

"‘Untying the Knots’ – is a stroke of genius. It expresses succinctly, but also with a certain profundity, the challenge at hand."

“great insight”

“a contemporary biography with the cadences of a film script”

"Vallely is an excellent, well-connected writer, and 'Pope Francis: Untying the Knots' is an engaging and thoughtful read throughout. He turns out to be a good ‘untier’ of the knots"

read Tim Byron’s review here


Tom Heneghan, religion editor, Reuters, writes:

“Paul Vallely’s Untying the Knots fills the gaps left by ‘instant books’ on Pope Francis”

Read Tom Heneghan here


John Cornwell in the Times Literary Supplement

“Vallely’s book is a formidable achievement”

Read John Cornwell’s TLS review here


James Carroll in The New Yorker

"Paul Vallely’s indispensable biography, Pope Francis - Untying the Knots.”    

Read James Carroll in The New Yorker here


Julian Coman in The Observer

“Paul Vallely's masterly biography of Francis, Untying the Knots”

Read Julian Conman in The Observer here


Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish

"The indispensable English-language biography of the Pope, Pope Francis: Untying The Knots by Paul Vallely"

Read Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Dish here



listen to Sean O’Rourke’s interview with Paul Vallely on Today on RTE here


listen to Paul Vallely interviewed by William Crawley on The Sunday Programme on BBC Radio 4 here


listen to Paul Vallely interviewed on Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster on BBC Radio here


Watch Paul Vallely talking about the book on BBC TV here

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Buy Pope Francis – Untying the Knots here is registered at Companies House as Paul Vallely Consulting Ltd.
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