Cathedral of the Sea follows the fortunes of the Estanyol family, from their peasant roots to a son, Arnau, who flees the land only to realize spectacular wealth and devastating problems. During Arnaus lifetime Barcelona becomes a city of light and darkness, dominated by the construction of the citys great pridethe cathedral of Santa Maria del Marand by its shame, the deadly Inquisition. As a young man, Arnau joins the powerful guild of stone-workers and helps to build the church with his own hands, while his best friend and adopted brother Joan studies to become a priest. When Arnau, who secretly loves a forbidden Jewish woman named Mar, is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face to face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed?
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"[M]ost of this novel is tediously dry, concentrating more on history and less on character and plot. For a far more spirited work on a similar theme, stick with Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth." - Library Journal.
"Less learned than the work of compatriot Arturo Perez-Reverte, but more intelligent than the average beach book. " - Kirkus Reviews.
" Unfortunately, the historical elements outweigh character and plot development. Nonetheless, this is a well-written and complex work. Recommended to libraries with interests in historical novels, as well as new-Spanish writing." - Criticas.
"With Cathedral of the Sea, Ildefonso Falcones dethrones Eduardo Mendoza and Arturo Perez Reverte . . . and has become Spains new Dan Brown." - El Mundo.
"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." - Publishers Weekly.
"The plot too often relies on outrageous coincidence; the style rarely rises above the ordinary; good Arnau is too good. Unlike the best Stevenson or Dumas adventures, the characters are one-dimensional, without contradictions. Little of this matters once within the story. Cathedral of the Sea is an exciting, very readable adventure novel, enriched by realistic descriptions of medieval life, work, finance and politics." - The Independent (UK).
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Cathedral of the Sea was Spain's #1 bestseller for a full year. Rights have been sold in thirty-two countries to date.
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