9/10 - Now here's a female character I like! Strong, intelligent, not afraid to fight for what she believes. She ascends to the throne of St. Peter and becomes Pope as a highly educated and talented physician (albeit disguised as a man) and she does it in 800 A.D.! I'm not usually a big historical fiction buff, but I was surprised how well the author kept the story moving by interjecting a romantic subplot and a good dose of action and dispicable villains. I can't elaborate on why I only gave it 9 stars, because that would ruin it for those who haven't read it yet. Now if we only knew if it was a fictional story based on a real person or a myth.