A rather difficult biography of the scholar pope, Sylvester II, known as Gerbert. Young Gerbert, born in 945 in south central France of a peasant family found an opportunity to learn in the monastery of St. Gerald, where he became a monk. His eagerness to learn, and particularly his aptitude in the ""sciences"" -- mathematics, physics and music -- brought him to the attention of a Count Borrell with whom he travelled to Spain. But it was Pope John who recommended him to Otto II, emperor of Germany and it was through the recommendation of Otto III that he was finally raised to the papacy, after years of brilliant work as a teacher, advisor and friend to noble families. He also experimented in astronomy and mathematics. An interesting subject, but unfortunately this period is extremely confusing, to young people, and the style is loose and careless. (The remark ""hold on!"" seems somewhat out of place in the Middle Ages.) Simplification of character and multiplication in detail, a situation which should be reversed. Illustrated by photos. Imprimatur but non-sectarian in tone.