In Nathan's somewhat derivative debut (think Donna Tartt's The Secret History, with a little magic thrown in), Eric Dunne, a 16-year-old wunderkind, orphan and autodidact Latin prodigy, escapes New Jersey thanks to a scholarship to Aberdeen College, where his quest for knowledge inevitably comes at a very high price. On the ivied New England campus, Eric dabbles in awkward sexual fumblings and psychedelic drugs, but specializes in the occult, with fatal results. Apprenticed to fossilized academics including head librarian Cornelius Graves and star medievalist William Cade, he also teams up with fellow research assistants Art Fitch, Howie Spacks and Dan Higgins in search of the philosopher's stone, which supposedly holds the key to immortality. Eric and his rumpled, preppy cohorts quote Chaucer at each other, identify with Charlemagne and jet off to Prague in search of a lost alchemical tome. Eric's intellectual musings ("But it was doomed from the start, putting so much faith in knowledge, not realizing that knowledge by itself can be dangerous") share space with awkward exposition and purple description, but Nathan perfectly captures the angst and pretension of adolescents taking themselves very seriously.
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America's love affair with higher learning continues--reading about it, anyway. This latest entry in the codes-'n'-classics sweepstakes stars Eric Dunne, a 16-year-old Dickensian naif; an orphan sent to live in a New Jersey slum with his callous aunt, he teaches himself Latin in the public school library and wins a scholarship to stately Aberdeen University in Connecticut. His genius wins him a place on the elite research team of a superstar professor writing his magnum opus on the Middle Ages. But living in the professor's house, Eric learns of another project: the quest for the Philosopher's Stone, the supposed secret to eternal life. Eric and his cohorts are hard to empathize with or even to believe, spouting Latin at each other and seeming more like scholarly homunculi than flesh-and-blood undergrads. But Ivy-covered libraries and musty stacks do make the perfect setting for far-fetched mysteries, especially in an era when libraries themselves are mysteries to too many. Readers who liked The Rule of Four (2004) are likely to like this. Keir Graff
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In Gods of Aberdeen, author Micah Nathan paints an evocative picture of life in a small New England liberal arts college. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rebecca Mugridge
What an unusual topic - alchemy - to use as a major theme in a novel about a young college student finding his place in a small New England college. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Aramaia
Michah Nathan writes in a style that gives the reader a clear picture of the settings and characters. The writing style makes you believe that you are really there. Read morePublished on March 3, 2013 by Susan Cornwall
Nathan has captured the feel of those college years, the unfulfilled ambition, anxiety and anticipation that go hand-in-hand with trying to make your way among academic peers. Read morePublished on January 10, 2007 by Burt Hoek
Bought this book because of the comparisons to my beloved TSH and the alleged connections to Rule of Four, and found it akin to neither. Read morePublished on May 4, 2006 by Corey Blum
Aloha! This review is coming from the island of Oahu. To put it simply this book was was of the most stimulating reads I have had in a long time. Read morePublished on August 22, 2005 by Christopher J. Kidawski
Whoaa! This book has gotten some fine reviews here. But I agree with Mr/Ms "Boonie." The picture of academia is an unbelievable caricature. You might as well make Dr. Read morePublished on August 7, 2005 by Tater
I digged this book -- some college hijinks, a search for an ancient manuscript, and a young genius narrator. Read morePublished on August 6, 2005 by AvidReader
Gods of Aberdeen starts out with an intruiging plot (search for the Philosopher's stone) and an interesting protagonist (orphan from both the country AND the big bad city). Read morePublished on July 28, 2005 by K. Rogers