More geospiritual shadowboxing by indefatigable Church gladiator Martin, who's previously scored phantom knockouts in The Jesuits, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, etc. Here, Martin takes on relations between the Vatican and an equally secretive and powerful global organization: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Martin's focus in this long (528-page) and rambling study is something he calls the ""millenium endgame"" being played between global communism, global capitalism, and the global Catholic Church. Martin regards capitalism and communism as equally sinful; both encourage the ""de-Christianization of the western mind,"" a materialistic outlook on life, and the exploitation of man. Although both systems have competing global ambitions, he argues, in fact they are rapidly converging in the effect that they have on the human soul: corruption, enslavement to material forces, spiritual waywardness. The hero here is John Paul II, whom Martin calls the quintessential geopolitical pope, leading the Vatican's comeback on the global stage. The fact that John Paul is Polish is crucial, since Poland is portrayed as the age-old bulwark of the Catholic Church against heathen invasion (the Turks, the Muscovites), Protestantism (the Swedes and Germans), secularism (humanist philosophy and Masonic conspiracies) and naked secular power (Bonaparte, Hitler, etc.). The Polish pope's most fearsome rival on the world stage is a fellow Slav, Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev is apparently trying to woo the West with gentleness, while secretly hoping to subsume the world under the power of a single, world-wide Communist Party based in the Kremlin. Martin makes much of the fact that John Paul's attempted assassination in 1981 came on the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary in Fatima in 1917--the Virgin had warned that Russia would play a crucial role in settling the struggle between good and evil at the end of the century. John Paul is portrayed as a skillful strategist, but dilatory in attending to the continuing deterioration of the Catholic Church from within. Fuzzy, circuitous, and patchy--Martin glosses over what exactly makes capitalism evil, and dismisses Islam, the Third World, and Japan as ""provincial globalisms"" or minor world-players. Still, entertainingly cranky and provocative--a grand exercise in tilting at windmills.