Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Pope Joan

By Donna Woolfolk Cross

  • Release Date: 1996-09-03
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 298 Ratings
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"Pope Joan has all the elements one wants in a historical drama – love, sex, violence, duplicity, and long-buried secrets. Cross has written an engaging book."–Los Angeles Times Book Review

In this international bestseller and basis for the 2009 movie of the same name, Donna Woolfolk Cross brings the Dark Ages to life in all their brutal splendor and shares the dramatic story of a woman whose strength of vision led her to defy the social restrictions of her day.

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die–-Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept. 

Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak--and his identity--and enters the monastery of Fulda. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great scholar and healer. Eventually, she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest office in Christendom--wielding a power greater than any woman before or since. But such power always comes at a price . . . 

"Brings the savage ninth century vividly to life in all its alien richness. An enthralling, scholarly historical novel."
--Rebecca Fraser, Author of The Brontës


  • Couldn't Put it Down

    By TaraBaraCO
    Great book
  • I highly recommend it

    By Mom Bird 8
    I have had this book since it first came out. It is not only riveting but also deals with the issue of gender inequality in the Middle Ages. Also leaves you with (possibly) unanswerable questions.
  • Pope Joan

    By dkipi
    Excellent read, hard to put down, very informing, loved it.
  • Awesome!

    By Verde77
    Seriously, one of the best, most engaging books I have read in a long time. I couldn't put it down. I love a great historical novel--especially one based on fact or legend--and this one grabbed me from the start. Really well written, with all the aspects of a gripping novel, but also historically accurate. I can't recommend BookBub enough. Great service. I paid $1.99 for this book, based on their recommendation.
  • Great Read

    By RomaHealth
    What a great, well-written story. I could not wait to pick it up and see where the story went next. The characters are interesting, the plot takes a number of unexpected twists and it really made me think on a number of different levels. Whatever your religious affiliation, this will be most enjoyable.
  • Very Interesting

    By RJSgate
    This book is engaging and makes one wonder about the current teachings and "truths" of modern Catholicism.