This is a masterful eipc of love, war, treason, plague, famine, witchcraft, anti-Semitism and the Inquisition. 14th-century Spain, the medieval city of Barcelona is enjoying a golden age of prosperity. Its humblest inhabitants are building, stone by stone, a magnificent church to overlook their harbour. This is the Cathedral of the Sea: a church ...
This is a masterful eipc of love, war, treason, plague, famine, witchcraft, anti-Semitism and the Inquisition. 14th-century Spain, the medieval city of Barcelona is enjoying a golden age of prosperity. Its humblest inhabitants are building, stone by stone, a magnificent church to overlook their harbour. This is the Cathedral of the Sea: a church to be built for the people by the people. In its shadow, Arnau, a young serf on the run from his feudal lord, struggles to earn his freedom. After famine, plague and thwarted love, Arnau's fortunes begin to turn when King Pedro makes him a baron as a reward for his courage in battle. But he is also forced to marry Eleonor, a ward of the King whom he does not love. His newfound status excites jealousy from his friends who plot his downfall with devastating consequences. Arnau's journey from slave to nobleman is the story of a struggle between good and evil that will turn Church against State and brother against brother...
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This was an excellent book, I couldn't put it down. I like that the translation from Spanish to English kept the feeling and emotion of the original. It transported me to the place and time of the story, Barcelona and their strong religious followers. The time when Jewish were not at ease in Spain. Now I'm reading The Hand of Fatima and I think it will be as interesting since this time the story involves Muslims.
Louis David T
Jun 19, 2011
A good summer read
If you liked Follett's books on medieval England, you'll like this story which takes place about the same time period but in Barcelona. However, you will likely note the similarities in plot which I decided weren't important to my enjoyment of the book. If you read it in the original Spanish, you may like it even more.
I recommend this book as an excellent choice when enjoying the summer vacation.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-03-24 Medieval Spain's caste system can't keep a good man down in this absorbing epic, a Spanish-language bestseller. Arnau Estanyol, son of a fugitive peasant, starts out in 14th-century Barcelona as a lowly porter who carries stone blocks to a cathedral construction site and ends up a rich moneylender who saves the city from pillaging and frees the serfs of a barony he acquires by marriage. Alas, his dizzying social assent and defiance of the feudal order provoke enraged aristocrats--his status-obsessed wife included--into siccing the Inquisition on him. Arnau is a kindhearted, somewhat passive figure who combines piety, industry and cosmopolitanism to challenge a corrupt, dogmatic church and a parasitic nobility. The plot features thwarted romance, war, plague, immolations and self-immolations, set in a Machiavellian world ruled by privilege, cronyism and brute force. The melodrama is sometimes laid on thick, but Falcones's rich portrait of medieval society is fascinating. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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