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All I can say is WOW! What a great read!

As someone who is a devoted fan of best-selling authors like Dan Brown, James Rollins, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, and Steve Berry, this book has a similar flavor of rich characters, intrigue, secret organizations, ulterior motives and power struggles within a context of religion and faith.

Using fascinating historical fact and real early religious source documents, the author weaves a spellbinding tale of the quest for faith and unity by a body of believers beginning with Christ in the first century, throughout history and into the foreseeable future against a backdrop of worldwide religious discord, dissension in the Catholic church, expansion of the Muslim faith and the unfortunate reality of terrorism.

And he creates this exciting, fast-paced story using a storyline that does not read as implausible. The author does an excellent job of character development and, being a visual person, I greatly appreciated useful tools he provides for the reader–the Map of Key Events, Dramatis Personae, Glossary of Ecclesiastical Terms (essential for those of us who are not Catholic) which were hugely helpful to keep track of which characters were with each organization since there are a lot of characters to follow. The Table of Contents provided an overview of the organization of the book.

The book had an excellent flow and pace. He did an exceptional and balanced portrayal of the Catholic church, the Vatican, Catholic doctrine and all the related people and history and relationships–he neither exalted nor crucified them.

Even though the storyline, of necessity, had to bounce back and forth between places and people, he did it seamlessly–it was not confusing or clunky at all. I thought some of the violence in the early part of the book was extreme and graphic, and normally I would take issue with violence that seems gratuitous or excessive; however, as the story developed, and given the very real and horrific nature of terrorists, brigands and mercenaries and how, news coverage aside, we are comfortably insulated against the horrors of it, I understand why it was written as it was.

I was so impressed with his ability to create complex and difficult situations but then to actually create wisdom (in Annalisa) to address it. I always like an element of symbolism (both actual and metaphorical) and he used both well and neither excessively. This book was such a clear stand-out, both in the superior quality of the book itself but even more in the intricacy, richness and complexity of the characters and storyline. A winner for sure–would highly recommend. Can’t wait to read the second installment.

The year is 2025. The world is in turmoil politically, economically, and spiritually. Muslims are battling Christians for control of various continental locales, and the Catholic Church is facing a profound inner shift.

And then there is the matter of a nun, Sister Annalisa Basanjo. Of Muslim descent, the diminutive Catholic nun possesses remarkable and startling healing powers, causing those aware of her abilities to wonder whether she is an angel sent by God or an evil force to be destroyed.

So begins Pope Annalisa, book one of author Peter Canova’s First Souls trilogy. This first volume recounts the separate but intertwined stories of myriad characters, including Sister Annalisa, Pope Clement XV, Cardinal Peter “Pietro” Roncalli, and Robert Avernis, American CIA liaison to the Vatican.

Tackling subjects as weighty and massive as religious clashes, spiritual healing, transcendent beliefs, and a possible End of Days scenario is never easy, but Canova makes it clear that he is well versed in that about which he so adeptly writes. It was my fear that Pope Annalisa would prove dull or confusing, mired in too many details or historical facts. Instead, the book is a dramatic page-turner that beckons to be read cover-to-cover more than once. Canova’s style is engaging, simple enough to be understood yet intellectual enough to challenge readers to fully contemplate his complex storylines.

The tales within Annalisa also challenge readers to think long and hard about their own spiritual beliefs, how they came to be, and what is it that strengthens and maintains them. I especially appreciate that Canova makes the central character, Sister Annalisa, so complex. It is extremely difficult to tell if she is, as the book’s back cover reads, a “Holy Spirit or Wholly Evil.”

Fans of authors such as Dan Brown will appreciate Canova’s mix of action and drama, while those looking for a spiritual tome will also be impressed. From the opening scene in 68 A.D., to the future story set in places throughout the world, Pope Annalisa is simply riveting, taking readers on an amazing, thought-provoking and powerful journey of the soul, the psyche, and the mind.

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Pope Annalisa is a tour de force of insights important to anyone interested in the mystery of human origins. It is a thriller in which spirituality and quantum physics are the bookends framing a profound exploration that questions the world of the apparent and reveals a concealed reality.

Peter Canova has brought his extensive knowledge of Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Quantum theory together in this masterpiece of global conflict, religious infighting, and political intrigue in such a way as to stimulate the reader’s mind to new depths of self-inquiry.

The story stretches from the year 68 AD in the Roman Province of Ephesus, where Mary Magdalene faces the Roman authorities, to the near future of 2025. At this point, Sister Annalisa Basanjo enters the story. She rises from the obscurity of her African village to the attention of her local cardinal and bishop for exercising her prolific healing powers. After they report her to the Vatican, Pope Clement XV sends a contingent to investigate the rumors of her activities, which are purported to be heresy.

Iran, ruled by a ferocious Ayatollah, has acquired nuclear and chemical weapons and is preparing to use them against their sworn enemies in Europe and the U.S. Terrorists abound, wreaking havoc across the continent and in the U.S. itself. The Vatican is in a political, financial, and spiritual quagmire of betrayal and intrigue. In this scenario, we find many parallels with the state of our world in 2012. Although this book was 12 years in the writing, Peter Canova has perceived and portrayed today’s challenges in a novel of current historical significance.
Canova’s characters are complex and compelling. He employs their voices to tell the story with a masterful use of narrative. This is not a Catholic book, nor is it an attack on any religion. The Catholic Church is a vehicle used to tell a universal story of human origin, purpose, and destiny. Pope Annalisa is a brilliant exposition of how our beliefs have locked us into a box where the miraculous seems impossible and the illusion of materiality seems the norm.

As Annalisa assumes the Papacy, the reader must determine whether she is indeed a heretic or the restorer of a true, original spiritual legacy once taught in early Judeo-Christianity. Heresy and orthodoxy, good and evil, spirituality and materiality—the meaning of these terms is turned upside down in Annalisa’s wake even as she overturns many of our long held convictions of who we are and why we are here.

Pope Annalisa is a crossover novel that once read for pure excitement, then reveals its deeper spiritual and philosophical wisdom. This book is destined to become a cultural phenomenon when enough people. I encourage people to pick it up and judge for themselves.

Begin reading “Pope Annalisa” (Trimountaine Publishers) and you’ll soon realize Peter Canova has written a mesmerizing novel.

In addition to dealing with important contemporary themes, both religious and political, his ambitious work features an absorbing storyline, many memorable characters, and is consistently provocative.

To keep his storyline moving, Peter asserts, “I labored to make some dense material understandable.” Clearly he succeeded. Consider how he clarifies the problem of time and God. To the admirable Cardinal Roncalli, the 43-year-old Annalisa says: “It is said God exists beyond time. No yesterday, today, or tomorrow, just now….So why did He give us time? …Through time we are given the opportunity to act and then to meet with the results of our actions—our errors or successes—on another day, at another time.” Annalisa also tackles truth which, she asserts, “comes in dreams, images, and symbols. It is a constant process of revelation.”

As for the book’s key theme, Peter says: “It’s that there is really no true separation between humans and the divine—as we’ve been taught in Judeo-Christianity. Latent within each of us is a divine spark [we are able] to communicate with, in order to bring our lives to a higher level of being while we’re here in this material form. Within that is the recognition that all things, seen and unseen, emanate from one consciousness. This consciousness has projected itself outside of itself into many different points of consciousness.”

Peter adds that “the primary dynamic behind life you see in all the ancient cultures is a male-female polarity underlying the energetic processes of the universe. Once we understand this and balance these forces—which is certainly possible—the gateway to contact with this higher level of information residing in our being is opened. That sounds complex, but throughout the story you see how the growing awareness of that principle affects the characters’ lives.”

Peter hopes readers take away from the novel a “more exalted conception of what a human being is.” He stresses that human beings are “essentially the bridge between spirit and matter.” In his twenties Peter had “very real experiences—not imaginary ones—that had to do with this source of higher information.” Some of his premonitions saved his life “and were so startling I spent the next 35 years trying to understand the source of this intuitive information going through me.”

In “Pope Annalisa” a key moment occurs in Chapter LV, when the Cardinals have assembled to elect a new pope and a “terrorist intrusion” occurs. Thanks to Annalisa’s intervention, it doesn’t turn deadly. After the unexpected incident, the diminutive Annalisa, “her skin…the color of coffee and cream, smooth and calm,” is elected the world’s first African and female pope. Rest assured her goal to change “the world’s political [and religious] landscape” isn’t going to be easy.
The first book of a trilogy, “Pope Annalisa” has won two International Book Awards as well as awards for Visionary Fiction and New Age Fiction. It will also be made into a motion picture. Visit Peter’s website ( for more information about him and his critically acclaimed novel.

Susana Hutchenson
Think about it — a woman pope — BUT — more than that — a black woman pope! The Catholic church has held women down for generations. It’s time someone took this to task and the author has done just that in this new book. This is the first book of a trilogy titled “The First Souls.” I’m looking forward to the next part of that trilogy.
Susanna Hutcheson​
Professional Copywriter, Feature Writer and Internet Reviewer
Joe Kremer
Pope Annalisa is an incredible read. It’s a great novel with a spiritual bent that doesn’t overwhelm. It reads better than The DaVinci Code or Celestine Prophecy – more like The Color Purple for the Soul.”
John Kremer​
Author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book

We were privileged to have Peter Canova speak at our group and not knowing him, we were amazed at his vast knowledge and astounding grasp of the subject matter of his new & first book, just out, “Pope Annalisa.” I so looked forward to reading his exiting novel after hearing him discuss the background material. When it arrived I slowly read each page with anticipation and was thrilled at the mystery and fast pace as the concise chapters seemed to fly by. I was totally hooked by a story that seemed so much ‘of our time’ and filled with such dramatic historical imagery that I found it difficult to put the book down. From start to finish it carried me through a world of reality based intrigue that explained so much of what I had always wondered about our spirit universe. This book is not like fiction, more like our present world condition. And the great news is that there are two more books to follow!

Karl Werner

Leicester NC

What Peter Canova has been able to accomplish in his first novel is nothing less than remarkable. He has skillfully joined diametrically opposed religious viewpoints, seemingly unresolvable world issues, and highly improbable alliances and melded these into a fast paced spiritually uplifting thriller. The book’s plot is complex as are its characters. It challenges the reader to focus on its revelations of religious theory and to re-evaluate this information in light of today’s political upheavals and waning Christian beliefs. This is not a contrived page turning work of fiction. It is a substantial mental probing of the foundations upon which the Christians constructed their world. One cannot help being swept up in the emotional, spiritual, and psychological maelstrom that is POPE ANNALISA.

Amazing Grace


When I mentioned to a few Catholic friends I was reading a book about a black woman Pope they looked at me in horror. How could any one imagine such a sacrilegious thing? Actually Pope Annalisa is a highly plausible story that should not offend Catholics. The story starts in the year 2025. An obscure African nun gets the attention of the reigning Pope and is brought to the Vatican. Conniving cardinals try to mitigate her influence. There are other interesting plots in the story including a CIA agent in the Vatican and an ultra conservative Catholic shadow church, which has the ear of the US president to mention a few. The whole story is fascinating and really quite believable. I enjoyed this book immensely

John Pompea

Connecticut - November 18, 2009


Pope Annalisa is a page turner with rich characters, historical insights and intricacies that make it not only plausible but gives you the feeling this is/can be happening. I am still reading the book but am losing myself in the characters and think about it even when I am not reading it. It is bound to be one of those books I hate to finish and I am looking forward to book 2 and 3.

B. Jackson

San Diego, CA - August 29, 2009


Pope Annalisa reminds me of my visit to the Vatican. I was gazing at the fabulous wall murals and tapestries. There was so much to see that I really had to look at it numerous times from numerous angles. I’ve read the book twice for the pleasure of sifting through the multiple layers of action, adventure, and mystery, always with the backdrop of a sometimes subtle, sometimes upfront spiritual odyssey. Pope Annalisa could very easily have crossed the line between being a can’t-wait-for-the next chapter story and an overly complex, heavy-handed spiritual message. But it didn’t, to my delight. After all, we’re talking about themes like genesis and the nature of good and evil. Those are potential minefields for a work of fiction, but the author succeeded in avoiding an explosion that could have wrecked this epic story. The characters in Pope Annalisa are rich because we can see how they grow on all levels-emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. The ones that don’t grow are, understandably, the bad guys because they are set in their flaws of pride, greed, and power. Though the book deals with conflict, and part of that conflict mirrors the current tension between the Islamic and Western worlds, it is ultimately a book about reconciliation between cultures and religions. It deals with the human potential to realize our own goodness. An uplifting and very unusual book, highly recommended.


September 5, 2009

Peter Canova is brilliant in his awesome presentation of a world in crisis, an outdated church that has never accepted the role of women in our spiritual journey and as the representation of Sophia as Wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Peter made it all so real that I felt uplifted during my day because I believed all he wrote about is indeed possible. Beyond the research and the personal experience that came through the pages I felt connected to a new sense of spirituality that I have believed is our real nature and true relationship to the God within each of us. Thank you Peter for this wonderful work that is difficult to believe is your first, certainly not your last. This is a must read and hopefully a movie soon. This book has the power to change lives for the better.

Paul Hebert

September 26, 2009

Blog Reviews

I’m in the process of reading the first book of a wonderful trilogy: Pope Annalisa by Peter Canova – – Who we recently met at our spirit oriented gathering. We were all very impressed by him & now I have the great pleasure to say that his new book is fabulous! I’m hoping many people will be exposed to a new way of seeing the origins of our universe and a history of so much that has been suppressed by the church. I’m sure many will enjoy his book ! … ISBN: 0982181310O.K I have finished reading POPE ANNALISA and can now report that this is THE best book I have ever read. will let you know what others have said ! – I implore everyone to put this book book FIRST on your reading list… It’s that valuable in our troubled times.

Karl Werner

October 11, 2009

My Favorite book of all time is POPE ANNALISA – I just finished reading it so I speak from experience. This is THE book for our times ! Joy! 8:19 PM Oct 11th from web Demonic-looking symbols started appearing around the Vatican when the new pope arrived. What did this mean? Was the world about to end? What is Annalisa’s real agenda? Annalisa was treated differently than other popes by the cardinal. Would this change? And why was it happening? No doubt because she was black and a woman. The reader wonders all through the book if the new pope will survive. Moreover, they’ll wonder if she’s evil or the true savior of the world. I found this to be an exciting, entertaining and awesome story — well told and powerful and I highly recommend it.


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