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The Nameless Day: Book One of the Crucible Trilogy [Paperback]

Sara Douglass
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2001 Crucible Trilogy

The first book of The Crucible, an exciting new historical fantasy from the author of the popular Axis triology.

The Nameless Day is, according to the ancient pagan calendar of Europe, the one day of the year when the world of mankind and the enigmatic world of the spirits touch. Mid-century the forces of evil slide across the divide and invade Europe.

The Church sends Thomas Neville, an English nobleman, on a secret mission through the shadowy forests and arcane religious orders of Europe to discover the extent of the danger. But not even Neville, a priest, is prepared when the horror of the Black Death sweeps across Europe.

The forces of the Church and God rally against the infiltration of the Devil’s minions. The battle has begun.

Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New Ed edition (17 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007108451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007108459
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,759,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Nameless Day, the first volume of Sarah Douglass's new 'Crucible' sequence, is set not in some faraway fantasy realm but in what both is and is not the Middle Ages of the Hundred Years War and the Black Death, a Middle Ages strangely truncated so that the Black Prince's conquest of France and Joan of Arc's attempt to save it are going on at the same time. Something demonic is going on -- a mysterious faction within the Church has failed to take the precautions that need to be taken and something has been unleashed: it is precisely because no-one trusts the warrior turned priest, Thomas Neville, that he finds himself lumbered with investigating what went wrong with the last journey of Brother Wynkyn thirty years before. Thomas thought his life was over having made the wrong choices, and gave up his old life to repent perpetually. But finding himself considered expendable by almost everybody and everything starts to change his mind.

This is an ingenious, passionate and more than slightly loopy fantasy, with vividly evoked landscapes of dangerous deadly beauty and ultimate disgust; the flawed self-hating Neville is as intriguing a character as Douglass has given us. -- Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for previous books in The Axis Trilogy:

‘BattleAxe is the best Australian fantasy novel I’ve experienced to date.’
Martin Livings, Eidolon

‘Enchanter is utterly enthralling and unputdownable.’
Karen Brooks, OzLit

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A DRIBBLE OF RED WINE ran down Gerardo's stubbled chin, and he reluctantly-and somewhat unsteadily-rose from his sheltered spot behind the brazier. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
As a fan of fantasy, things medieval and alternative history I was very attracted by this book, but maybe I was spoiled by coming to it from Mary Gentle's phenomenal "Ash". I found Douglass' work uninspired and downright confusing.
The main problem is the main character, Thomas Neville, who begins the novel as a monk on a mission to defeat the demonic forces in the world under the orders of the archangel Michael. The problem with the characterization is threefold: first, Neville is a thoroughly dislikeable character - judgemental, self-pitying and selfish. Now this wouldn't be a problem if this were a conscious literary choice, but it doesn't seem to be, since (and this is the second problem) Neville doesn't develop in any kind of consistent way. Starting the novel as a devout monk, he has casual sex with two different women with apparently no second thoughts or pangs of conscience, and then deserts his vows, similarly with no thought of the seriousness of his decision. Which connects to the third difficulty: Douglass appears to have little or no understanding of how the medieval religious mind worked - she knows the language, but clearly has no empathy with the religious views of the time, which makes it impossible to empathise with her main character or understand the internal conflict which drives him - Douglass is much more comfortable writing about politics and secular characters. This is a problem in a novel where religious and theological issues are at the heart of both plot and theme.
I liked the look of this but was very disappointed. Try Gentle's "Ash" instead.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Easily the worst book of this trilogy 28 Sep 2003
Douglass was always going to have trouble moving on from her incredible Tencendor trilogy, let alone trying to match them. You can't come to this book with any expectations because it is so completely different. The story is set in the Dark ages in Europe, based around a monk, who is trying to stop darkness from covering Christiandom. Sound odd? it is. The monk, Thomas, seems to travel further and faster than the modern teenage back packer over Europe, and is a highly dislikeable character. I think every girl will close this book after the first 100 pages, feeling highly insulted.
The only thing that kept me turning pages was the fact that is was by Sara Douglass, so it just HAD to get better. Luckily it does get better. However, it doesn't get better until the next book in the trilogy ('wounded hawk'). Thats only a good 590 pages of appaling storyline to get through before the story gets going. Sound like hard work? it is.
The trilogy itself deserves a good 4 out of 5 stars. But this book really drags it down. Dull, complex and a nightmare to follow, but necessary before you can move onto the next book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 28 April 2002
By A Customer
This book, and the book following it, The Wounded Hawk, provide a very interesting look into an alternative way of thinking about God, Satan and Demons. I found it a very good read, despite it's incredibly length. It provides subtle clues, which whilst not being too subtle, would not 'Snap' into mind as being linked until the very end of the book when all is revealed (in The Wounded Hawk). The Nameless Day is a must read for those who are remotely religious and enjoy a historic book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative History/Religion 11 Oct 2001
Strange priests, mysterious angels, pagan rites..this book is a skillful mixture of fantasy and (alternative ) history. I do NOT like fantasy, but this book's premise intrigued me from the start. It's kinda anti-religion (woo hoo)-- the reader doesn't know who to trust. There's a healthy dollop of mystery and lots of great writing. I couldn't put it down and neither could my husband...then of course, there's the next book _Wounded Hawk_ which reveals or does it only serve to confuse? (There's a bit of a romance but I love Douglass' pragmatic attitude to "romance"). It's a fantasy book for non-fantasy readers like's fast, the characters intriguing and the research excellent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery that you want to solve 28 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a little slow to start, but as i found out later it was just setting the foundations for what would be a brilliant story. If you start it keep going it really does get better.
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