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3.2 out of 5 stars9
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 12 October 2001
Being a big fan of this type of book I devoured it within two days. The main character, Thomas Neville, monk, warrior, sinner is a great character. He makes you want to slap him a few times, which I find is a good hallmark for a good character.
It is a good indication of life in the Dark Ages. Their misconceptions, prejudices and how hard life could be as well as how narrow most people's (read Catholic Church in this instance) outlook on life was.
Great fun. If you liked the movie "The Messenger/Joan of Arc" you will love this book.
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on 3 March 2010
Well, just finished the above named book by the Australian author Sara Douglass, who wrote the brilliant Axis Trilogy, of course. The Nameless Day opens well, creating a great sense of time and place. It's set in 14cent Europe, the time of Joan of Arc and all that. Basically, demons have been leaking into the human world via the gateway to hell, which needs to be resealed every solstice. Unfortunately, the monk who is the gatekeeper gets the plague and dies, meaning all hell breaks loose, literally. We follow Thomas Neville, who is given the divine mission to expunge the demons who are at large and to seal the gate again. Sounds great? Unfortunately, it ain't. The protagonist is not at all sympathetic, meaning we don't care what happens to him. If you know much about history, you also pretty much know what's going to happen next. And there is no real resolution at the end of this book. The Nameless Day is branded `historical fantasy' and represents the first of its type I've read. It just isn't my thing really.
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on 28 April 2002
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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on 11 October 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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on 7 February 2004
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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on 28 July 2013
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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on 28 September 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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on 10 January 2005
The Nameless Day has the unfortunate honour of being the first book of the series, of which characters and area must be developed. Having recieved this as a gift from my brother, I was in a way obliged to have a look. Having overcome my hatred for the way Thomas is portrayed, the themes that Sara explores coupled with the research that is evident in her writings, it ends on a cliff hanger of which the other books of the trilogy become a complusive read...
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on 29 November 2001
First off, I should probably say that I'm not a fan of most fantasy novels, having no time for special rules of magic in allegedly strange worlds and mighty, but ultimately boring warriors. So when I saw this book, I tohught I might give it a try, set as it is in a mediaeval world, just one small step from our own past.
As a novel, it's reasonably written, although the character development leaves something to be desired. What I found frustrating was not knowing where the story was going. I hated the central character of Thomas Neville, but I'm still not sure whether this is intended as an antihero device, or if Douglass actually views Neville as admirable. Ultimately, I'll probably buy the sequel, just to see what does happen, but if the attempt at ambiguity, through lack of explanation, continues, I could find it very tedious.
This book is pretty lightweight, but that was good for a train journey. It does hold your attentionto a degree and you might end up vaguely interested in what happens next (the sequel hook!). However, I'm still not convinced whether I'm reading a historical/fantasy "Left Behind", hard Christian message book, or, what I'm starting to believe and certainly hope, a good fantasy novel that begins with a thoroughly detestable main character, who transforms through experience into a more sympathetic person. Hopefully, it's the latter, as I have no time for the former, whatsoever. Therefore, I'll reserve my judgement for now and put into the category of hmmm, not sure, yet. Could it be that this is a good book for the very reason that it makes you think about its content and comment? Hmmm, not sure. Yet.
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