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A Canticle for Leibowitz [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Walter M., Jr. Miller , Tom Weiner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: £23.82
Price: £20.11 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

Dec 2011
In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine of the Fallout Shelter.

In a terrifying age of darkness and decay, these artifacts could be the keys to mankind's salvation. But as the mystery at the core of this groundbreaking novel unfolds, it is the search itself—for meaning, for truth, for love—that offers hope for humanity's rebirth from the ashes.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455120235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455120239
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,564,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Angry, eloquent...a terrific story. (New York TIMES)

Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim. (CHICAGO Tribune) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The brilliant and provocative classic of the post-nuclear age, ranking with 1984 and Brave New World in its visionary power --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Repetition Does Not Make Perfect 30 Jun 2003
Canticle is one of the best post-holocaust stories ever written. Told in three separate sections that were originally published as separate stories, it details a post-nuclear war society where (once more) the Catholic church has become the repository for what little learning there still is, complete with monk scribes happily copying by hand the few remaining books. But at least for the first section of the book, the scribes don't understand what they're copying. When they uncover some ancient relics of Saint Leibowitz (a twentieth century engineer who tried to stop the book burnings and other atrocities) they end up enshrining one of his grocery lists and venerate a common blue-print as rare and sacred. Later portions of the book detail the resurgence of science, fueled by the church's repositories of knowledge, but as becomes increasingly obvious as you go further in the book, there is still no change in mankind's basic human nature, and war enters the picture again (and again) - covering almost a two-thousand year span.
There is a large amount of ironical humor suffused throughout this book, which makes its prime message that man is doomed to continuously repeat his mistakes, leavened only by the love of a distant God, much easier to take. In many ways this book is a hard look at both the ultimate value of religion and at basic human nature, couched alongside some heavy symbolism (the Wandering Jew makes multiple appearances) and some very sharp satire.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion and SF in one story 19 Nov 2002
By S. Flaherty VINE VOICE
I don't usually give books 5 stars so you'll understand that I thought this book to be exceptional. Yet it's a little hard to say why. Possibly it's the combination of religion and SF, which happens very rarely and even more rarely succeeds.
A little about the plot. This is a post-apocalyptic novel as is obvious in the first chapter when a monk of the order of St. Leibowitz is wodering why metal cores are found so often in rocks - said rocks being concrete rubble. The Catholic church has relocated to New Rome, somewhere in the American southwest, and the main setting is the monastery of St. Leibowitz, somewhere in the desert in the American southwest. The main characters are the monks. The action of the story takes place over around 1,000 years, consisting of three stories, each one hundereds of years apart from the others.
The order of St. Leibowitz is dedicated to preserving knowledge in the Memorabilia, a collection of pre-apocalyptic writings and documents. For this, they were persecuted in the immediate post apocalyptic period as the survivors of a nuclear war rose up, enraged, against technology. The first story takes place a few hundred years after this, when civilisation is just starting to be even thought about again. The Church of New Rome is a repository of knowledge (especially the Order of St. Leibowitz) and a force for social cohesion. There are obvious (and, I'm sure, intentional) parallels with the European Dark Ages after the fall of Rome here. As there are in the second part, which deals with the rise of an empire (perhaps based on Charlemagne?) that looks like it might unify the American southwest but, perhaps inevitably, comes into conflict with the Church. Again, historical parallels can be seen.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Science Fiction 24 Jun 2007
This post-apocalyptic tale is narrated by the survivors of a 20th century "Flame Deluge" (nuclear war). Modern civilisation is decimated and the world's population largely annihilated. The anger of the few survivors is channelled toward the remaining scientists and politicians, leading to a cull of the inteligencia which culminates in book burning and the slaughter of anyone who can read. The novel is set mostly within the walls of an abbey constructed to preserve the remaining knowledge until the population is ready to understand it and rebuild. The author revisits the abbey three times over the next two thousand years, charting the technological and philosophical development of civilisation at each point in history. The subsequent emergence and renaissance of this fictional civilisation parallels that of our own and the author uses this as a plot device to discuss the failings of humanity and the propensity of society to make the same mistakes throughout history. Is history destined to repeat itself?

So the cold war brought the world to the brink of the apocalypse, this may be so, but this period instilled a level of fear and paranoia in the mind that can germinate great creative ideas, and this book is full of them, I can't recommend it highly enough! The prose is beautifully written and incredibly readable, although at points intensely depressing I was surprised how richly comic I found this novel given the subject matter.

I'm a massive Sci-fi fan but must concede that although some of the great literary ideas are produced in this genera, the quality of the writing and characterisation frequently falls short of the mark. I would often tar even the `greats' such as Azimov and Clark with this brush, although don't get me wrong, I hugely enjoyed some of their books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Early Sci-Fi.
I bought this because i read and enjoyed it about 50 years ago.Perhaps it is a mistake to go back to your childhood. It wasn't as I remembered it in the last 1/8th. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tony Hip
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book and it arrived on time and in really good condition. It is well worth a read for a sci FI classic
Published 2 months ago by Joanne Lacy
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing
This is one that I've been meaning to read for some time. It shows up on a lot of "best sci-fi" lists, and I've always thought the premise was intriguing - that a monastery... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike N
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
An all-time dystopian classic. If you are a sci-fi fan then this is a must read book. Poignant inventive and well written this did not disappoint. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Usul
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent futuristic history book
I had a copy of this novel on an kindle, and having finished it, I immediately bought the hardback copy from Amazon. A wonderful book that considers the history of a nuclear (? Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. E. Mccaffrey
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not well written
I'd seen this book on various best-ever sci-fi and fantasy lists and always wanted to read it. It stood out as something different, and this is its strength - it is an original... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kublai
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Vision
Read this back in the 60's. Still as funny and prophetic as it was back then. A scary view of nuclear holocaust and how it determines the shape and structure of survivors and their... Read more
Published 12 months ago by kenaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
A unique and terrifying science fiction story. A book that lingers in the memory long afterwards. Treat yourself and read it!
Published 12 months ago by bugspur
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for Thought
I recently re-read this book after a long gap and found it even more chilling the second time around. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Enquiring Mind
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've re-read in years
Great book! It had an impact on me as a teenager and I got a copy for my 66th birthday to see if it was as good as I remembered - it was! Read more
Published 18 months ago by MickD
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