Enigmas of the mid-15th Century: Background information when reading The Brotherhood of Book Hunters

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Brotherhood of Book Hunters

by Raphael Jerusalmy

The Brotherhood of Book Hunters by Raphael Jerusalmy X
The Brotherhood of Book Hunters by Raphael Jerusalmy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2014, 256 pages
    Nov 2014, 256 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
Buy This Book

About this Book

Enigmas of the mid-15th Century

This article relates to The Brotherhood of Book Hunters

Print Review

Throughout The Brotherhood of Book Hunters, Raphaël Jerusalmy makes his protagonist puzzle through conflicting evidence and deal with contradictory information. He also both doubts and finds reinforcements for his personal faith and beliefs. All of this fits nicely with the religious enigmas of the mid-15th Century, which is a particularly fascinating era.

Pope Paul IIOn the one hand, we have the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg (~1450) and Pope Paul II, who promoted the printing of books and documents, making education more accessible. However, alongside the religious texts produced, were works that could (and would) threaten the Catholic Church's core doctrines. With the ability to produce and distribute books on math, science and philosophy, came the spread of ideas that would eventually lead to the Church's ultimate pushing back with the Spanish Inquisition, but couldn't stop the Protestant Reformation.

Christopher ColumbusThat same widespread access to information included new maps to entice the likes of Christopher Columbus and his famous explorations. It has always been ironic that his voyage occurred during such a religiously repressive period in history, sanctioned by Queen Isabella, who was known as "the Catholic", and yet his discovery later became a place of refuge for those running away from religious oppression. And at the same time, King Louis XI of France, who officially revoked his father Charles VII's Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, which took powers away from the Pope, created intrigues and conspiracies (which gained him the nicknames of "the Cunning" and "the Universal Spider,") which included making sure that absolute power would be held by monarchy and not by Rome.

Louis XITo all of this, Jerusalmy brings the conundrum of the fictional Brotherhood itself, with its unlikely collaboration of Christians and Jews, both pulling towards a common goal against the Papacy, but for their own separate reasons. And to deepen the enigmas, he hints how this will eventually lead to the detriment of both, through the expansion of the Inquisition in the 1470s and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. In The Brotherhood of Book Hunters, Jerusalmy succeeds in finding just the right mysterious protagonist at a central period in history, whose journey reveals much, but leaves just as much in question.

Pope Paul II, courtesy of QWerk
Christopher Columbus, courtesy of Paine Ellsworth
Louis XI, courtesy of Il Dottore

Article by Davida Chazan

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Brotherhood of Book Hunters. It first ran in the January 21, 2015 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Courting Mr. Lincoln
    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard
    19 out of 21 of our First Impression Reviewers rated Louis Bayard's latest novel, Courting Mr. ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Kate Atkinson
    Over her two-decade-plus career, Kate Atkinson has reinvented herself as a writer several times by ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhalation
    by Ted Chiang
    Exhalation is an assemblage of nine short stories and novellas written by Ted Chiang, a computer ...
  • Book Jacket: Disappearing Earth
    Disappearing Earth
    by Julia Phillips
    On the remote peninsula of Kamchatka—tucked away on the far eastern corner of Russia and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake

    "An American epic in the truest sense…"
    Entertainment Weekly
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Women Rowing North
    by Mary Pipher

    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Miracle Creek

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I T S Form O F

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.