I decided to read this novel as I had recently visited Brazil and was interested to learn something of the country's history, though I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy ploughing through a thick volume, based on fact but a novel.
The events,political machinations and the vagaries of human nature contained in this epic account of a utopia formed by the disposessed of the north of Brazil, around a charismatic, enigmatic preacher, explain much of Brazil's (and indeed the world's) present day situation. It uplifts the spirit with optimism until the final chapters when it becomes clear that as usual the good guys are not going to win. I was gripped from the start by the characters, some of whom touched my heart and live in my imagination still.
Whether or not you are interested in Brazil, or history, if you care about the human condition and the fate of the downtrodden and outcasts of society then you will be as enthralled by this book as I was.