Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Second Sleep

I love Robert Harris and was delighted to be given this for my birthday, in hardback so still feeling very new. I hadn't read any reviews so put it in the reading pile, near the front for when I wanted a page-turner.

I have now finished it. It's a brilliant book but I wondered whether I dare review it, for any summary runs the risk, in this particular case, of giving too much away. Even what I am about to say will invite you to take more care over the opening chapters with a 'Can't fool me' attitude.

The jacket says: '1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor.'

And this is the book's opening. Yet soon a twist that leaves you re-reading the first pages again to see how you missed the clues that this is not quite about what you think it is about. Those things you thought were the author's errors? Not so much. Should have known better.

The romp continues. A page-turner. A great story with a late medieval background. Yet a story that asks questions of us today, how we live, what we value and what will be our legacy.

Finishing it I chose to read some reviews to see how great reviewers had tackled the conundrum. They simply gave it away.

Even the amateur reviewers on Amazon and such sites were more cautious to be gentle with fellow-readers.

So, if it's not too late, go out and get this and read it without finding anything out. Then consider how you might vote.

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