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The Book of God and Physics

A Novel of the Voynich Mystery

by Enrique Joven

The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven X
The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven
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  • Cindy A. (Bryan, Texas)
    Good History, Disappointing Novel
    In Enrique Joven’s The Book of God and Physics, a Jesuit priest seeks clues to the deciphering of a mysterious Renaissance document referred to as the Voynich Manuscript. The story is, of course, in a vein similar to The Da Vinci Code, and fans of that book will probably enjoy many aspects of this one. Yet, while the idea of the plot is intriguing, the execution leaves much to be desired. It suffers from common first-novel faults, such as poor character development, wooden and plodding dialogue, uneven pacing, and a general lack of subtlety in the writing. For me, the narration also fell flat. Then there is the egregious use of footnotes to explain the dialogue and actions of the characters, and Joven’s annoying habit of reprinting multiple passages from research websites (as his protagonist, Hector, reads them) in order to provide the reader with necessary historic details. Some of these could be issues with the translation, or it may be that (hopefully) by the next book, Joven will have developed as a fiction author.

    There is a lot of neat scientific history in the book; however, these passages are not always well integrated into the story. (And if you don’t like a little edification with your novels, you will not appreciate this book.) Unfortunately, Joven’s work feels like two distinct books that have been poorly mixed together—a non-fiction treatise on scientific history, and a fictional piece that wants to be an entertaining mystery/adventure. The historical portions of the book were the best rendered. If readers can get past the average writing, as well as Hector’s frequent denigration of Creationism (which may be offensive to some) they may be pulled along by the story. But when the planned sequel to this book comes out, I will probably pass.
  • Brianne S. (Slinger, WI)
    "The Book of God and Physics"
    I really really wanted to like this book. The premise is good...religious mystery, a mysterious book, and a young Jesuit scholar. But sadly, the writing is bad, really really bad. I did not find myself relating to any of the characters and the plot seemed stilted and disjointed. I made it though about half of the book before I gave up. It just didn't seem worth my time to finish it.
  • Denise M. (San Diego, CA)
    The Book of God and Physics
    Enrique Joven ends his prologue with "However, reality sometimes surpasses fiction." This is probably true, however, the techniques of writing good fiction may be what it takes to make that reality interesting to a reader. Although I felt the voice of the narrator charming throughout, I did not feel the real-life mystery of the Voynich Manuscript sufficient to sustain a work of fiction that lacked both tension and drama. I felt the dramatic connections the author intended between fiction and fact were no more than that, intentions. Interesting concept but dramatically flawed.
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