Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
it seems like it should be barely bound together considering all the ...
on July 10, 2015
The whirlwind of ideas brought on by the Reformation serve as both a backdrop and motive of the novel's plot. If you're looking for an action-packed book that is both eloquent and entertaining, this is for you. It's so full of life that I'm honestly still shocked the book doesn't look more weathered and volatile sitting on my coffee table right now... it seems like it should be barely bound together considering all the turmoil contained in its pages. That said, it can initially be a difficult read due to the nature of the narration (memories told at a later date are interspersed with chapters that date back to the time those memories played out.) While this was confusing at first, just pay attention to the dates and you'll get used to it pretty quickly. In my opinion, it's a lot more powerful to tell the story in the present tense, so it only adds to the novel's effect when the authors jump around in time.
Note: As a huge history nerd, the extent and accuracy of the historical research that went into writing this thing is totally impressive.
This is a must read if you're interested in religious history and the nature of ideas/their intersections with politics. It reads in a lot of ways as an Early Modern "whodunnit" mystery. I won't say any more so as to not give anything away, but i'll just casually mention that the character growth of some of the main characters is worth the read alone.
-This book will make you teary eyed. I mean, it might... it did for me. But not so much because I felt the emotions of the characters etc, rather because it makes one of the most turbulent periods in history completely real. This was a time when old ways of thinking were turned upside down and the world was thrown into chaos. You feel that the whole way through. It has a really distinctive voice. (I didn't want it to end. AND LUCKILY IT DOESN'T HAVE TO! If it's your thing, the authors switched their name to Wu Ming and wrote a sequel called Altai.)
- Sex, violence, profanity: the essentials are all here
-It is long. But also, it is not long, because it's a page turner and you won't be able to stop. The chapters are really short and so you keep saying "One more chapter, then I'll call it a night.." No. You will not stop. Not until your eyes are sore or you need to pee, or sleep, or take your mother to the airport.
-Echoes of Marxism. If you go into it thinking about Marx and socialism more generally, you will see what I mean. In a lot of ways, the Anabaptist ideologies in here foreshadow Marxism. If you like political commentary, this will add another level of interest for you.
-Fun fact: The authors are 4 unnamed anarchists ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
-If you are unfamiliar with the politics of the Reformation period, the Anabaptists, the Inquisition, and/or conversos/marranos, I recommend looking them up, this book is so full of references to these things that I think this will help you out.