Written in the year 1700, when the demise of Pope Innocent XII was imminent, and dedicated to his friend and employer Louis XIV, The Secrets of the Conclaves is a mine of information concerning popes, conclaves and cardinals. A little masterpiece of cynicism and irony, illuminated by Abbot Atto Melani's historical memory and his unscrupulous defence of raison d'état , this remarkable document is an insider's guide to the machinations of the papal election. As told by Melani, the pitfalls in the conclave are largely invisible: personal hatreds, ambushes, vendettas, colossal errors and tragic misunderstandings follow at every turn. In a fractious world in which gangs like the Flying Squad or the Zealots are at each other's throats, everything and everyone is to be mistrusted. It goes without saying that the ways and means employed to triumph in a conclave involve the darker arts; but they are the selfsame techniques that set Melani on his way to success: adulation, deception, corruption and, above all, espionage. The original document was discovered in the archive of the Library of the Senate in Paris by authors Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti. Monaldi and Sorti have celebrated the adventures of Atto Melani in a series of bestselling historical novels including Imprimatur, Secretum and Veritas.