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The Gaudi Key: A Novel Hardcover – August 5, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Martin and Carranza's Da Vinci Code knockoff, members of a secret group known as the Corbel, who worship the Dark One, orchestrate Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí's apparently accidental death in 1926. Their purpose, carried out over centuries, is to destroy the Knights of the Moriah, who guard the greatest secret in Christianity. In 2006, 92-year-old Juan Givell, the last grand master of the Moriah, must pass his knowledge on to his attractive 26-year-old granddaughter, who will then, along with her mathematician boyfriend, take up Givell's mission to finish the Great Work. Far too often in a plot involving an ancient relic, the Templars, the Vatican, riddles, secret diaries, torture and many brutal murders, the action grinds to a halt as someone stops to deliver a lecture on a historical fact or theory. Ardent fans of Gaudí's work will best appreciate this erratic enterprise. (Aug.)
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In the tradition of The Da Vinci Code, this mix of thriller and adventure tale set in Barcelona centers on the life and work of real-life architect Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926) and his largest project, La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church that remains unfinished. Readers who enjoy heavy doses of religious history, mysticism, and secret societies will revel in the detailed backstory, which follows the 3,000-year life of a sacred relic guarded by a secret order, the Knights of Moriah, against the Corbel, an equally secret satanic sect. Maria and her boyfriend, Miguel, both academics, are drawn into the dangerous game when Maria’s grandfather dies, leaving her to find the hidden relic and fulfill the prophecy. The realistic characters and the intriguing combination of religion and architecture will draw readers, but the uneven pace may deter them. The first two-thirds of the novel is very slow—nearly brought to a standstill by lengthy flashbacks—but the last third abruptly kicks into overdrive, as the body count grows and frenzied action dominates. This narrative schizophrenia is disconcerting, but Da Vinci Code fans are used to bipolar pacing. --Jessica Moyer
Top customer reviews
Sometimes you can concoct a literary triumph yet not tell a story so well. Such is the case with Esteban Martin and Andreu Carranza's novel.
"The Gaudi Key," takes Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," moves it to Barcelona, and then attempts to transform a potboiler into big literature. But the authors fail to match Brown's talent for penning the page-turner, and instead weigh their piece down with interesting, but unnecessary information.
Any story affirmatively linking Barcelona, its most famous architect, and the second coming of Jesus Christ is going to have a lot of explaining to do, and the resulting expository writing generates a book of considerable heft (430 pages).
The set-up involves a vicious conflict between the diabolical Men of Mensula and the Knights of Moria; the latter being an ancient Catholic order of warrior friars with which Gaudi was associated.
The knights are engaged in an age-old quest of squiring a surviving rock sliver from Solomon's temple to its final resting place in the Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia cathedral, as preparation for Christ's return to earth.
If it sounds complicated, well, it is. And if it doesn't sound complicated, it still is.
And although the authors successfully guide the narrative's baroque machinery to a successful conclusion, the exquisitely embroidered scheme ends up stepping all over a story that is not uninspired in its origins.
Detailing the history and competing philosophies of the Mensulan and Morian orders is tackled via long character dialogues best omitted or at least reduced to something more essential and dramatized through story action.
Parsing them is a slog and their presence is augmented by the presence of still more as these well-schooled scribes hold court on all manner of esoterica, Greek mythology, Catholic mysticism, 20th-Century anarcho-syndicalism, and the Shinto religion (to name a few).
"The Gaudi Key" never practices what it preaches. The famed architect's hallucinatory vision and transcendent approach to life and art are lost in a tome that is constantly over-reasoned and overwrought, robbing the marvelously chosen topics of all their inherent magic.
Most recent customer reviews
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