Cathedral of the Sea

Ildefonso Falcones, Author, Nick Caistor, Translator , trans. from the Spanish by Nick Caistor. Dutton $25.95 (611p) ISBN 978-0-525-95048-6

Medieval Spain’s caste system can’t keep a good man down in this absorbing epic, a Spanish-language bestseller. Arnau Estanyol, son of a fugitive peasant, starts out in 14th-century Barcelona as a lowly porter who carries stone blocks to a cathedral construction site and ends up a rich moneylender who saves the city from pillaging and frees the serfs of a barony he acquires by marriage. Alas, his dizzying social assent and defiance of the feudal order provoke enraged aristocrats—his status-obsessed wife included—into siccing the Inquisition on him. Arnau is a kindhearted, somewhat passive figure who combines piety, industry and cosmopolitanism to challenge a corrupt, dogmatic church and a parasitic nobility. 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. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 611 pages - 978-0-451-22599-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 624 pages - 978-1-4362-0332-6
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5416-4
Open Ebook - 624 pages - 978-1-4362-0331-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-4406-3041-5
Compact Disc - 18 pages - 978-0-14-314293-5
Open Ebook - 752 pages - 978-1-4090-5766-6
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