This novel is really one of the best historical novels that I have read. As the other reviewer commented, the people in this book are both children of their time and modern at the same time. It is wonderful how through dramatic irony you see 'the Sect of the Fish' (that is, Christianity) through Roman eyes. This is what it must feel like for any minority group trying to hold on to their beliefs in a society that is unforgiving. De Carvalho also succeeds incredibly well in keeping up the pace and a monstrous tension as the city he is magistrate for is being attacked both from the outside and from within. Very interesting and definitely worth the read!
This book is surely not an easy read. This is no relaxing stuff even though the first chapter is quite hilarious and has no direct parallel in literature of this day (not that I know of, anyway), reminding vaguely of Calvino's first chapter of On a winters night a traveller and the Foucault Pendulum of Eco. But the introductory chapter is only the beginning of something that probes much deeper than the Hebrew aleph-beth. Human existence, creation and the ever so actual question on how far we human can interfere in (human) genetics is written between the lines of two fascinating stories of creation of life and the death that follows in two even more fascinating environments; 15th century… Read more