This is a truly dreadful book, badly conceived, badly plotted and badly written. Learner has taken a handful of sensationalist ingredients- an ancient map, a Jewish mystic, the Inquisition, the Spanish Civil War, Wicca and the CIA- and made a mishmash of them all. The hero, August, is one of those fantasy characters that are, for no apparent reason, irresistible to women. He has a strange collection of talents, no doubt a result of his having taken an imaginary course at Oxford- what Learner calls Classics and Oriental Studies. This apparently involves botany, but not much in the way of classical languages, because there's some very dodgy Latin wandering about this book. The story makes you lose the will to live- so many questions- why did Shimon set people chasing all over Europe looking for complicated gardens? why, if Tyson knew enough about Shimon's heraldic flowers to leave them lying about to taunt August, didn't he go to Cordoba in the first place? Why Olivia? And why, if August already knew about the Sephiroth, did we need the improbable Cockney Jew? Even in its own terms, the story makes no sense. The plan of the Sephiroth is a pattern, not a labyrinth. One doesn't get lost in it as there are lots of different ways around it, and it is supposed to be for the use of an ascetic spirituality, not a idle code made for fun. Learner herself gets fed up with it, using only three of the attributes and ignoring the rest.Other reviewers have mentioned the many mistakes in this book and they are wearisome. The Spanish Civil War is completely irrelevant to the mystery story and perhaps might have made a decentish book on its own, but its inclusion makes me wonder how much Learner's novel was influenced by that far superior fantasy, "El laberinto del fauno" -Pan's Labyrinth.I got this book for 15p, withdrawn from the local library. Don't buy it, even for 15p.