- Hardcover: 887 pages
- Publisher: IndyPublish (January 21, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1404340742
- ISBN-13: 978-1404340749
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,157,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wandering Jew, Vol. 1 Hardcover – January 21, 2003
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I originally started to read this book because I was interested in the legend of the wandering Jew. This is a mythical person cursed to live forever and wander without rest because he refused Jesus a place to rest as He carried His cross to Calvary. Although the wandering Jew and his equally long-lived sister Herodias, who gained her longevity because of her involvement in the death of John the Baptist, make occasional appearances in the book, the story is really about the heirs of Herodias, seven members of the Rennepont family. So if you are seeking a work on the legend of the wandering Jew, I recommend you do not read this book.
The Rennepont family lost their position and most of their wealth during the French persecution of the Protestants. What was left of the Rennepont fortune was entrusted for 150 years to a Jewish banker and his heirs who were loyal to the family. Over the course of time through wise investments, the small inheritance was carefully nurtured into a fortune.
Any surviving members of the Rennepont family were directed to meet at a certain address in Paris in 1832 by bronze medallions cast in 1682 that have been passed down from generation to generation. Those present on the given date will divide the inheritance. This book is the story of the seven members of the family left at this time. They are Jacques Rennepont, a Parisian workman who favors drinking and the wild life; Francis Hardy, an enlightened industrialist who has built communal living quarters for his happy workers; Rose and Blanche Simon, twin teens who travel with an old soldier from Siberia where their mother has just died to Paris; Adrienne de Cardoville, a beautiful and independent-minded woman of means; Abbe Gabriel, an orphan who has been raised by the Jesuits, and Djalma, an Indian prince.
Two Jesuits and a female accomplice have devised a plan to keep the Renneponts from their inheritance and to claim it for the The Society of Jesus. They hope to obtain the fortune to secure their futures and pay for the rehabilitation of the Order.
The story moves from one cliffhanger to another throughout the book as the struggle between the family and the two Jesuits unfolds. The Perils of Pauline and A Series of Unfortunate Events come to mind as contemporary stories with similar plot devices. This structure is a byproduct of the newspaper serialization. However, Eugene Sue is a master of his craft and he develops the various subplots with great skill. Characters are well-developed and scenes are vividly described. It is sad that this book has been out of print for so long. A new edition with a modern translation would be a great literary treat.
The Wandering Jew should be read of not as a cake as I've said of The Count of Monte Cristo, but it should be read of as a materialistic possession following the personalities of Stonehenge. The Wandering Jew stands out as a moon of diamonds in the treasure planet of literature, like Stonehenge amoungst the other landmarks. It stands out as a tiny treasure, whose popularity might not of been a death defying satisfaction, but then again, so is Stonehenge, pushed away by The Great Wall, Taj Mahal, etc. But most of all, their are reasons behind their rise to fame. Did the Wandering Jew take the easy way out and become cult--classic? A book whose literary talents are yet unknown, but made to satisfy the general population, like Harry Potter? No, it didn't, it matched, if not exceeded, the pickiest of people's standards as a novel, like Stonehenge, standing tall and straight amidst the millions of landmarks charging for more fame.
The Wandering Jew, also like Stonehenge, still stands an object of severe interest to the people. People never mastered what exactly it meant, by its subtleness, and sense of command as it stands tall and proud in an somewhat empty space. The Wandering Jew, in a way contains that special talent that makes people wonder exactly how the author wrote such an aweing novel, and not why it is a horrible novel, and why it is not of its said standards. Why? Because of its movements, because of its well--planned plot, but most of all, it's genius, when separite diamonds come together, meaning the plot, characters, and the truth, we often tend to believe that the book is too good to be true! And in this case we are right! The Wandering Jew is a rare treasure not to be shaken.
Now, a little about what is actually in the book. The different characteristics of the characters tend to make people believe that they are going to become mortal enemies in the future, but the way Eugene Sue convincingly showed us how they band together to form a resistance against the Jesuits makes Eugene Sue quite the over--achiever. Just for those who doesn't know, the Jesuits aren't actually holy fathers who pray for the world and do all that is good and just, and the real ones actually don't either, but the inexperienced might think that, and that is quite the grave mistake. In those times, people think that God is their king. And he is, but every kings got to have his own prime ministers, and in comes the Jesuits, and you know how Prime ministers have basically all the power. And as the stunning end comes for all, we believe, yet we refuse to believe, amazing as that is, that the good guys win whether they win or lose. So Eugene Sue brought back the hero--always--win code--in a more realistic fashion. Pure talent, pure genius.
So now you see why this book has such a touch on me, and if you've read it and agree, then thank you very much, and if you're about to read it, I hope you will find this review rewarding. But most of all, I hope you find the book and its talented author rewarding.