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Cecilia's Vision [Hardcover]

Tim Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2001
Canterbury, 1235. At the behest of King Henry III, two monks have been charged to look into the case of Cecilia, an enigmatic visionary. Wilfridus, and the defrocked Brother Thomas, are to report on her origins, her purpose in England - and her alleged links with a heretical sect which sees only evil in the created world. The two monks are immediately beguiled by the grace and courtly bearing of Cecilia, and moved by the story she unfolds of her youth in the courts of Southern Germany - a tale of passion and loss, and the consolations of music and the contemplative life. But even as they begin to find themselves drawn to her, they uncover a web of intrigue and corruption, stretching to the highest levels of the Kingdom, which will make them the unwitting instruments of her fate.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (7 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747214182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747214182
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,323,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A good yarn... What makes CECILIA'S VISION superior to most monks-and-murder novels, though, is the care with which the religious and political context is established... T. J. Armstrong knits the strands of his plot together deftly, and evokes something of the rough-and-tumble of 13th Century life (Mail on Sunday)

A potent mix of murder, mystery and mysticism in medieval times in this absorbing tale that evokes a real flavour of the period, and offers a glimpse into an unearthly world beyond... Well-researched and written with a serenity that is utterly believable, this is a highly pleasurable read (Big Issue in the North)

Her story of love, loss and redemption plays out the conflict between love of the world and the senses and the ascetic's rejection of appearances... Armstrong draws on a knowledge of and fascination with the times to evoke its smells, colours and textures... The book gives us a glimpse into a parallel world of spiritual enquiry (Time Out)

'A good yarn... What makes Cecilia's Vision superior to most monks-and-murder novels, though, is the care with which the religious and political context is established... T. J. Armstrong knits the strands of his plot together deftly, and evokes something of the rough-and-tumble of 13th Century life' Mail on Sunday

'Her story of love, loss and redemption plays out the conflict between love of the world and the senses and the ascetic's rejection of appearances... Armstrong draws on a knowledge of and fascination with the times to evoke its smells, colours and textures... The book gives us a glimpse into a parallel world of spiritual enquiry' Time Out

[The] story that Cecilia tells is utterly fascinating, a wonderfully convincing picture of what a woman's life might have been like in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Armstrong... writes about England as it really might have been; his characters convince as genuine medieval people and it is this that makes his novel such a richly rewarding one (The Tablet)

'Armstrong's work contains much material similar to IVANHOE - there are heretics burned, beautiful Jewsses, wicked lords and evil Templars - but he writes in a different key and avoids all Scott's mistakes which so jar on modern ears . . . The unfolding mystery draws us inward and onward' likewise the parallel story that Cecilia tells is utterly fascinating, a wonderfully convincing picture of what a woman's life might have been like in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. This is probably the chief strength of this very good novel: Armstrong has not simply researched his period - though he has done that remarkably well - but he goes much further, supplying an insight into the workings of th medieval mind; in those days faith and power could not be separated, for they were simply two aspcts of the same thing; the same ws true of knowledge and the abstruse researches that brother Thomas undertakes . . . Scott wrote about early nineteenth-century people dressed up in the garb of a Merrie England that never ecisted. Armstrong, by contrast, writes about England as it really might have been; his characters convince as genuine medieval people and it is this that makes his novel such a richly rewarding one' The Tablet

Book Description

A pacy, beautifully researched Medieval mystery to appeal to fans of Eco and Fowles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Visionary Book 15 July 2002
Format:Paperback
It is rare these days to read a book that inspires one to further investigate the topics and historical period that it deals with - Cecilia's Vision is such a book. Packed with murder, intrigue, and heresy, it is a brilliant evocation of a lost age, cunningly entwined with a palpable sense of mystery.
The characters are as rich as the mercurial storyline itself; and most importantly it is an enjoyable read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical Mystery 18 Jun 2001
Format:Hardcover
Having read "Walter and the Resurrection of G" by Tim Armstrong, I was eagerly awaiting another book by him - and was not disappointed. In a sense this book is a sequel to his first as the protaganist of the first, Walter von der Ouwe makes an appearance. But what actually happens is a parallel of the first book, as Cecilia's story is told from her perspective.
One of the things that is so impressive is that this book is obviously written by a story-teller with real and working knowledge of the history and culture of the time in which it is set (12th century Germany and England); but this knowledge is used to colour the narrative, rather than being allowed to dominate. Therefore a real ambience is created in which one believes, rather than being forced to worship at the altar of the author's cleverness. However, it probably helps if you have a little understanding of Qabbalah, Jewish mysticism and mediaeval theology and monasticism.
Most of all, this is a mystery, and I found myself totally absorbed in the book by the story, involved with the characters (which are very sympathetically drawn out for us) and carried through the currents and under-currents of the narrative by the skill and beauty of the prose.
Couldn't really recommend it any more if I tried.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Completely enthralling book that takes you into mediaeval Canterbury, the Templars and dirty deeds. The plot is complex but completely convincing and full of colourful characters and historical detail. The story races along. I can't understand why this book is not more widely known.
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