Last Apocalpyse

James Reston, Jr., Author Doubleday Books $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-48326-1
Reston theorizes that the year A.D. 999--the focus of this highly colorful narrative--was a turning point in history, marking the Christian West's joining of forces against the triple heathen threat of Vikings, Hungarian Magyar tribes and the Moors in Spain. His popular history actually shuttles back and forth from the early eighth century to the death of Hungary's Christianizing King Stephen in 1038. Biographer (Galileo), television writer and journalist, Reston draws liberally from period poems, folktales, sagas, myths, legends and holy chronicles to stitch together an entertaining tapestry replete with revenge, murder, treachery, carnal lusts, rape, geopolitical royal matchmaking and snatches from Norse lyrics. Most memorable are the odd, outsize characters such as Swedish pagan queen Sigrid the Strong-Minded, who burned her spurned suitors to death in a beer hall. Reston also evokes a Byzantine court rife with conspiracy, a corrupt papacy, the end-of-the-millennium broodings of Christians and heathens alike and the cosmopolitan culture of Moorish Spain. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-385-48336-0
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