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This very belated follow-up to 'A Canticle For Leibowitz'
on 13 August 2001
This very belated follow-up to 'A Canticle For Leibowitz' takes up the story of the struggle for power between the Catholic Church and the still growing states which are expanding across the former USA in the period of post nuclear recovery.
The book has a much more confused narrative than it's predecessor and this not helped by the multiplicity of names many of the characters have been given. A list of dramatis personnae would have cleared much of this confusion. Miller also seems to have put much more of himself into the main character, the lapsed monk Brother Blacktooth St George, than was in evidence in the first book. The prose style is much more explicit, especially in it's sexual content than 'A Canticle For Leibowitz', clearly reflecting the changing standards in the 30 plus years that have lapsed between the two books - a change which I also noticed in James Jones's 'From Here To Eternity', and his later book 'Whistle'. Another similarity between the two author's is that both these latter books were completed by their literary executors - with somewhat greater success for 'Whistle', as the ending of Miller's book is rather rushed, and the additional writing does not blend seamlessly with the rest of the novel.
Despite these difficulties 'St Leibowitz' is a worthwhile read for those who read Miller's first novel, though I doubt whether other readers would enjoy it without impetus that the first novel engenders. I would rate it at 3 stars.