Summary and book reviews of The Brotherhood of Book Hunters by Raphael Jerusalmy

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
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2014, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan

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About this Book

Book Summary

A riveting tale of plots and counter-plots that takes place in Jerusalem, France, and Italy in the time of Louis XI.

The poet Francois Villon has been condemned to death by Louis XI, and to escape execution, he enters into a questionable relationship with a bishop in the pay of Louis XI. All Villon has to do to earn his freedom is to convince a printer and bookseller to move from Mayence to Paris, telling him that by doing so he'll be better able to circulate progressive ideas that aren't approved of in Rome. But, not surprisingly, Villon's task is not as simple as it sounds.

In this riveting tale of plots and counter-plots that takes place in Jerusalem, France, and Italy, Raphael Jerusalmy leaves readers out of breath and with their heads spinning.

THE BROTHERHOOD OF BOOK HUNTERS

The poet François Villon has been condemned to death by Louis XI, and to escape execution, he enters into a questionable relationship with a bishop in the pay of Louis XI. All Villon has to do to earn his freedom is to convince a printer and bookseller to move from Mayence to Paris, telling him that by doing so he'll be better able to circulate progressive ideas that aren't approved of in Rome. But, not surprisingly, Villon's task is not as simple as it sounds.

Excerpt from Chapter Three:

The Bishop of Paris crossed the street, cursing and grumbling, hopping to avoid the puddles. Two hooded clerics trotted beside him, trying in vain to protect him from the rain beneath a canvas canopy that the wind twisted and shook in all directions. The gutters of Rue Saint-Jacques carried mire and refuse, which the disgusted prelate prodded away with his episcopal crozier. Johann Fust rushed to open the door of his new shop while ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In short, The Brotherhood of Book Hunters is one wild and ancient ride - emotionally, physically (for the characters) and literarily. I did find the characters hard to keep track of at times, and the many twists and schemes did get somewhat confusing. Aside from that, this is a beautifully written novel and a truly compelling read. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction with a good quest (religious or otherwise) and doesn't mind some poetry thrown in for good measure.   (Reviewed by Davida Chazan).

Full Review (576 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
[A]lthough the plot is cinematic and full of twists, the novel trips over its erratic prose, which can be hackneyed and difficult to follow. This is an ambitious second novel that never quite lives up to its potential.

Library Journal
[A] fabulously entertaining picaresque and a great portrait of Villon.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Literate. Brilliant. Entertaining.

L'Humanité (France)
This book is simply remarkable.

L'Express (France)
A strong novel of thrilling adventures, full of energy, of malice, of insolence, and of scholarship . . . The journey is epic.

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Beyond the Book

Enigmas of the mid-15th Century

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, ...

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