Read The Book of Splendor by Frances Sherwood Online


Frances Sherwood brings to life the experience of the Jewish community during a period of oppression and rebirth. Set in seventeenth-century Prague, The Book of Splendor is an adventure-filled romance stocked with court intrigue and political tension, including the machinations of the rival Ottoman Empire, the religious controversies of Protestantism, and the constant threFrances Sherwood brings to life the experience of the Jewish community during a period of oppression and rebirth. Set in seventeenth-century Prague, The Book of Splendor is an adventure-filled romance stocked with court intrigue and political tension, including the machinations of the rival Ottoman Empire, the religious controversies of Protestantism, and the constant threat of violence to the Jewish community. At the heart of the novel is Rochel, a bastard seamstress who escapes poverty through an arranged marriage to the tailor Zev, but falls in love with Yossel, the Golem created by Rabbi Loew to protect the Jewish community. Meanwhile, Emperor Rudolph II puts the safety of all Prague at risk in his mad bid for an elixir of immortality. The Book of Splendor is an epic tale reminiscent of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, and a love story as unlikely as Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring. Reading group guide included....

Title : The Book of Splendor
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393324587
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Book of Splendor Reviews

  • Johnny
    2019-04-29 04:23

    The Book of Splendor is a pretty book, as pretty as the references within to Albrecht Durer’s Garland of Roses or Tintoretto’s Susanna Bathing. I loved lines like, “His whole short life seemed a waste commensurate with his size.” (p. 354) For me, it is not a “splendid” book, though it is named after the Zohar, the Book of Splendor, tied to the Kabbalah. [Note: I’m not a student of the Kabbalah, so pardon me if I have misunderstood the relationship of Zohar and Kabbalah.] One would have thought a fantasy novel that blended history, Hebrew wisdom and mysticism, fairy tale (Aschenputtel, the Ur-story for Cinderella), and the golem myth together with romance and, in some sense, redemption, would appeal to a history professor, a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible, a former publisher of fantasy game magazines, and a minister. Yet, the pacing was so leisurely and the lack of tension (throughout most of the book) so overt that it couldn’t hold my interest.Rochel, unwanted orphan girl who is the offspring of a Gentile rapist and a Jewish woman, seems to be the main protagonist. It is her story and she is the main catalyst for some of the more dramatic events. Yet, the story diverges so much from her perspective and spends so much time on Rudolph II, the Holy Roman Emperor (neither Holy nor Roman, but Emperor by virtue of his Hapsburg leanings), that one loses patience. The only court intrigue is overt (seems like a missed opportunity to this critic) and while the Three Stooges-like ineptitude of the two alchemists hired to create an elixir of immortality for the emperor has its moments, their overall incompetence keeps this portion of the plot line from being too engaging.Without spoiling the story, let me summarize briefly. The Judenstadt (Jewish community) of Prague is threatened because a zealous priest plans to instigate a riot against the Jews. The Emperor is called upon to protect the Jews, but is too self-absorbed with his hope for immortality to pay much attention (though there is another wrinkle in all of this). So, the rabbi cautiously and reverently creates a golem (complete with ‘emeth (truth) written across the forehead to be transformed to meth (death) after the sacred 40 days are up) to protect the community. Of course, the creation of the golem brings to mind some very Frankenstein-esque scenes, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since Mary Shelley was inspired by the golem legends to begin with. Of course, the big question here is what would happen if the “monster” became fixated on a grown woman instead of a little child? And it is a fascinating question indeed.Strangely, some of the more potentially interesting characters in the supporting cast are virtually wasted in The Book of Splendor. The role of Johannes Kepler is like one of those movies where you see the big stars name on the poster only to discover that his role is a pure cameo. Kepler has little more impact in this story than Marlon Brando had in the Superman film in which he appeared and less import than the same actor’s brief appearance in Apocalypse Now. Worse, there is a character who plays a very important function in the denouement to the story and, outside of a minute bit of foreshadowing, we don’t learn much about him in the exposition of the story. I learned two historical details in this book. The first is something I knew partially, but not completely. I knew that Niccolo Machiavelli was tortured by his erstwhile lord but did not realize that it was the “strappado” used on him (p. 295). The second solved a mystery in Herodotus. I’ve often been annoyed by the reference to “winged snakes” hanging about trees in which frankincense could be harvested. What I didn’t know was that these “winged snakes” might be a metaphor for mosquitoes, as is quoted by the physician when he cites about the “dog days” of August, “No bloodletting, no copulation in the time of flying snakes.” (p. 294) Finally, I loved the redemptive words of the rabbi which are cited by one of the characters near the end. “If we are able in our youth to foresee the perils in our path, would we have the courage to set out on the journey?” (p. 346) My answer to the question is that it would definitely be harder to do so if we knew what was ahead. Perhaps, though, the New Testament’s answer in the Letter from James is more insightful when the apostle tells us to regard difficulties as joy because they give us the endurance to reach our goal (James 1:2-4).

  • David
    2019-04-30 00:13

    Jews in 1601 Prague? If this sounds like a historical novel to you think again. Sherwood begins this novel as a historical novel and then weaves in a touch of fantasy, some spiritual food for thought, some historical data, and finally as story that is educational while it is entertaining the reader. In other words, this novel is a magnificent blend of fact, fiction, and culture. It is fascinating to read the Jewish culture, the eccentric rulers, the clever charlatan, the plight of the peasants, the joy of the rich, all thrown together in one exciting story.When a plot to destroy the Jews grows, the Rabbi constructs a 7 foot Golem to serve as a protector for the Jews in their ghetto. Meanwhile, the Emperor becomes convinced that the Jews have the secret to eternal life but are refusing to share it. Rochel, a half-Jewish girl is given in marriage to an older shoemaker, and promptly finds married life a drudgery and then she finds herself curious about the Golem-- can a an outcast orpahn girl and a Golem find happiness in the Ghetto... Sherwood does an excellent job giving life to historical characters, creating a few fictional characters, and then blending them together. The culture is so interesting and engrossing, the attitude of the ruling class so realistic-- the novel works.It just works. It interests and educates and leaves the reader feeling that he has read something of value. One minor quibble was the poetry.. since the poetry would have been in a non-English language it would not have rhymed. The realism factor was briefly dimmed by several poetic sections.. But, note, I said that this was a minor quibble,h

  • Melinda
    2019-05-15 04:14

    Loved this rich, imaginative novel that blends history with created events and characters including mad King Rudolph, an orphan seamstress with rare talent, and Rabbi Loew and his golem created to protect Prague's persecuted Jews. Sherwood's knowledge of Judiasm and Prague's history is on display in beautifully rendered descriptions. This novel took me back to Eastern Europe in 1601 and made me want to add the city to my current travel wish list.

  • Karen
    2019-05-03 00:35

    An interesting book, partly historical fiction combining a look at Prague during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, especially the city's Jewish quarter, with the Golem Legend. As I read, I assumed that the story was mostly fiction, combining romance and Jewish mysticism with a bit of history, but upon finishing the book, I decided to do a bit of research to find out how much of the book might actually be true. I was surprised to find out that Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler were actually attached to Rudolph's court and that he did have a court Jew, the man Meisal in the book, and that Rudolph himself was both a patron of the arts and science and was fascinated with mysticism. The Golem figures large in the book, however, and that adds a huge dose of fantasy to the story. In addition to the Golem, Sherwood includes as characters the English alchemists John Dee and Edward Kelly, historical figures who consistently claimed the ability to turn stone into this book, however, Rudolph demands they make him immortal, an historical inaccuracy.

  • Graham
    2019-04-26 04:27

    I liked THE BOOK OF SPLENDOUR a lot. Frances Sherwood isn't afraid to inject some fantastical elements - i.e. the creation of a living, breathing golem, a man made entirely from clay - to make the story far more interesting than it would have been otherwise.The portrait of a Prague some four hundred years ago is superb - and the themes of segregation, love, death and madness are all dealt with explicitly yet warmly within the novel. I'll admit to knowing little of Jewish history before I read this, but now I can safely say I know a little more.Sherwood's strength lies in depicting the psychology of her characters in a believable, enthralling way. The mad king is an obvious highlight, but there are plenty of other intriguing people to get to know - not least Yossel, the golem, himself. There isn't a great deal of action but it isn't required in this heady brew of historical turbulence and both inner and outer conflict. This is a strong and successful novel.

  • R.J.
    2019-05-09 23:27

    A beautiful story at the start about a young Jewish woman who marries during a troubled, dangerous time in Prague of the distant past--The ending was unresolved for me and so I didn't enjoy this as much as I've enjoyed other Sherwood novels.

  • Robin Friedman
    2019-05-20 06:27

    A Book Not SplendidThe Zohar, or "Book of Splendor" is the central work of Jewish mysticism. In common with most forms of mysticism, Jewish mysticism encourages an experiential, contemplative approach to the divine. In Judaism, the Zohar and contemplative practices often served as a counterweight to the rationalistic approach of philosophers such as Maimonides. Rabbi Jacob Lowe of early 17th century Prague was a leading scholar and practitioner of Jewish mysticism. He figures prominently in Frances Sherwood's novel, "The Book of Splendor". As recounted in this book, Rabbi Lowe had difficulty, with all his efforts, in capturing something of a transcendental experience. He does so near the close of this novel.For all its origins in the deep world of mysticism and contemplation, this novel falls far short. Sherwood describes her book as a "historical fantasy." The book is neither a historical novel because of the fanciful elements it includes nor a work of unfettered imagination because of the attempt to root it in a historical period and in historical event. The two elements, the history and the fantasy, are ineffectively combined, and the story, for me, collapses under its own weight.Furthermore the book is more than a historical novel and a fantasy. It includes strong elements of polemic. The polemic is the weakest part of the book and contributes strongly to the dissatisfaction I felt with it.The book is set in Prague in 1600. A major theme of the book is Jewish-Christian relations. The Jews were begrudgingly allowed to live in Prague. In this book, they live precariously in a ghetto and are live in constant danger from the government as well as from peasants and hostile townspeople and clergy that the government cannot effectively control.The book also has as a major character the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II who ruled Prague at the time. The book portrays his combination of madness and evil. Rudolph wishes to become immortal and enlists the help of alchemists from England as well as Rabbi Lowe. The book includes as side-characters Tycho Brahe and Jonathan Kepler who become leading figures in the incipient scientific enlightenment.The book has as its chief female character a young woman named Rochel of uncertain origins. She marries a cobbler named Zev who is substantially older. Rochel respects but does not, for most of the book love Zev.These disparate plots are tied together by the legend and figure of the golem. The golem is a legendary creature that was said to have been created by Rabbi Loew to save the Jewish community from harm in Prague. The golem does that in this book. He also does much else, including becoming the lover of Rochel and allowing her, the story goes, to come to some form of peace with herself.The story is cluttered, slow moving and does not hold together. I found the various components of the story working at cross-purposes to each other making the book confusing and unfocused. The most unconvincing portions of the book, and the portions which receive the most attention in the novel, are those involving the young woman Rochel and her relationship with the golem. I want to discuss this briefly.The character of Rochel I found entirely anachronistic in a historical novel of this period or in a historical fantasy. I mentioned that this book has strong elements of polemic, and Rochel is a polemical figure. Rochel is a poor, illiterate woman who has been raised by her grandmother. When she makes her marriage with Zev, we find that she is impatient with her lot. Through her voice, Sherwood makes many criticisms of the status of women and of the alleged patriarchal character of the Judaism of the day of the story. I find these criticism out of place for a novel of this time period. Rochel bemoans her illiteracy and dreams of becoming a scholar. She objects to the practice of the traditional Judaism of her day that required women to cut their hair and wear wigs. She objects to the Jewish rituals of purification for women. She finds her husband's lovemaking efforts clumsy and unrewarding. She longs for passion in her life. In a book that focuses heavily on the precarious character of Jewish ghetto life and that also tries to portray the Jewish experience positively and warmly, I found this proto-20th century feminism distracting and out of place. Rochel does not come alive in the book, and I had no sympathy for her many adventures and distresses in the course of the novel.After Rabbi Loew creates the golem, a relationship develops between Rochel and the creature. They have an affair, after which Rochel is condemned as an adulteress both by most of the Jewish community and by the Christian community outside the ghetto. Given the time and place of the story, and the strong biblical prohibitions against adultery, the book fails to convince me that the public reaction, Jewish and Christian, was entirely wrong or out of place for the time.The affair between Rochel and the golem, a creature of legend, is implausible and unconvincing. Further, I felt uncomfortable with what, to me, the author was conveying in her story of a passion between a beautiful but frustrated young woman and a robot, for want of a better word. I found that by making the golem an outlet for Rochel's passion, the book deprecates the relationship between women and men. More specifically, the story -- and the liason the author creates between Rochel and the golem -- deprecates men. It makes an assumption, common to other literature of this type that I have read, that men are themselves incapable of a loving responsible relationship with a woman. This is why, I think, Rochel comes to herself in this book after the affair with the golem, rather than with, say, a relationship with a human being -- a man, whether a Jewish man within the ghetto or a non-Jewish man outside it. Too much of this book is simply a chapter in the modern version of the war between the sexes set in Prague in 1600. As I indicated, the sexual polemic does not fit well with the historical setting of the book or with the sympathy the author tries to convey for Jewish life in the ghetto in these times.In summary, the novel moves very slowly and I grew impatient with it. I didn't find the book enjoyable or elevating to read. The various components of the story don't hang together well. The story of the golem is a rather overworked legend at best and it doesn't work well in the context of this novel. The book is spoiled by its use of too many overtly feminist themes during a time and a place in which these themes did not and could not have played a large role.I enjoyed reading the various comments of the other reviewers of this book. For me the book was a disappointment.Robin Friedman

  • Monica
    2019-04-25 23:19

    Meh. I liked the historical aspect, but not really the narrative itself

  • Wendy
    2019-05-05 03:34

    Well written...a book to get lost in. My favorite kind.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-28 22:35

    I'm usually a sucker for literary fiction, but I have mixed feelings about this one. Interesting characters in an interesting time, potential drama, drama, mysticism, and magic of the fire and brimstone sort rather than of the Alice Hoffman variety. It went a bit slowly for me in parts, but it could just be that I'm spoiled by the fast-paced the adventure I've been reading and listening to lately. What are the chances that I'd read two books in succession with Rabbi Loew as a character without planning to or having heard of him before? Maybe a 3.5, but probably due to the timing of the read rather than the book itself. I'm glad I rad it, but I'm still thinking about whether to read Vindication by the same author. I'm not sure I will enjoy it as much as I want to.

  • Carol
    2019-05-19 01:15

    This book is set in 1601, in Prague. It concerns the inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto (the Judenstadt), the Habsburg emperor Rudolph II, several other historical people, and the interactions among them. The Jewish community faces a threat from the rest of Prague, the Rabbi Judah ben Loew creates a golem to protect them, and the emperor pursues a mad plot to become immortal that involves the likes of John Dee, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and eventually the Rabbi. Meanwhile, Rochel, an orphan and new wife, falls in love with the golem.The book was pretty good. I like both historical fiction and fantasy alot, and this had elements of both. Also, the writing was good and the characters vivid. While there weren't a lot of surprises, the book nonetheless kept me interested. I think Sherwood also did a good job of touching on the larger issues of life and death, and the human desire to continue living even in the face of great misery.I also liked the fact that The Book of Splendors addresses a time, place, and group of people that are less typically found in historical fiction. I've read a lot of books that deal with England under the Plantagenet and Tudor monarchs. Plus, there are many novels based in Renaissance Italy. Eastern Europe seems not to be a popular setting, nor are pre-modern European Jewish people often featured in historical novels. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I just don't come across many such books. Not sure why this is, since it's not like any of the (admittedly few) such books I've read were dull.

  • Joshua Woodward
    2019-05-18 22:37

    I did not dislike this book but at the same time I was glad that it was over so that I could start on something new. There are some great insights into the lives of 16th and 17th century Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, but unless you favor the study of history, you will most likely find this book lacking. Yes there is a love story and the characters are enjoyable (particularly the character of Vaclav) but unless you are a history buff, you will most likely find yourself endlessly looking up jewish words and traditions and wondering what in the world the characters keep referring to as the "French Pox" (syphilis). This is why you will find this story lacking because you will probably misunderstand more than you will understand. Do not get me wrong, the end of the Novel was satisfying, but it could do with some footnotes to explain some of the minutia to the general population. A love story with some action and Prague politics at their finest, I would recommend this book to a scholarly audience, but not the average reader. I also did enjoy some of the life philosophy that Sherwood weaved in from every character's perspective. Some memorable characters to say the least...

  • Beverly
    2019-05-02 00:22

    Prague in the 1800's. Rochel an outcast in the Jewish ghetto, is married to the shoemaker. She and her grandmother managed to live by being seamstresses for the emperor. When her grandmother died, the Rabbi and his wife arranged her marriage. The Jews lived very precarious lives. They heard a rumor that the ghetto was going to be attacked. In order to protect the people, the Rabbi creates a golem. The emperor wants to live forever and hires two men to find the secret. Most stories about golems portray them as large, monstrous automatons used for one purpose -- to help the people. This golem has a pleasing manner and feelings. He falls in love with Rochel and she with him. Rochel is Labeled an adulteress, the alchemists cannot find the secret of eternal life. The townspeople turn against the Jews and fighting breaks out. Left unsure as to what happens to the emperor. Just okay.

  • Margaret
    2019-05-13 06:21

    Given that we'd just visited Prague (and specifically the Judenstat, in honour of my husbands' great-grandfather), a fascinating read. Sherwood adds huge amounts of historical detail, from the interior of the Altneu Synagogue to the stinking halls of the Castle. Several characters are drawn from historical accounts - Tycho Brahe indeed died of a burst bladder - but the main characters are overblown and a bit caricaturish. Sherwood's descriptive passages are either lush and sumptuous or tedious and over-wordy, depending on your personal tastes. I tend towards the former. There are moments of hilarity, though often her dialogue reads as modern in order to maintain the humour. It's worth a summertime read, especially if you enjoy melodrama romances, fallen women with hearts of gold, and lots of historical detail.

  • Dawn
    2019-04-29 23:30

    With a trip to Prague ahead of me this year I decided to read a book based in the city. It is set in the 17th century, when the Jewish lived in their own ghetto, protected in some degree by the emperor Rudolph II. The story follows Rochel, orphan and newlywed, as she settles into married life and Rudolph II, in his quest for immortality. Along the way there is political intrigue, religious zealotry and the creation of a golem.This book did not engage me. The characters and the world were like half formed creations, it seemed that in the authors rush to add more, so much was abandoned. A large part of the story revolves around the golem who I found uninspiring and as a romantic lead, left a lot to be desired. It was not worth the time spent.

  • Sharyn
    2019-05-11 05:35

    The Book of Splendor is a historical novel with mystical undertones. Set in Prague in 1601, Rudolph II, The Holy Roman Emperor desires to be immortal. He invites the alchemist John Dee and his associate Edward Kelley to come from England to make him an elixir that will grant him immortality. The astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler are also at court. Meanwhile in the Jewish section Rabbi Judah Loew creates a Golem to help protect the Jews from a pogrom. In addition there is a love story that includes a beautiful Jewish orphan who has just been married. Sherwood has created a setting that is so well rendered you can almost hear and smell the city. Her mixture of historical figures, a Golem, and a mad Emperor and the other characters make this book a pleasure to read.

  • John
    2019-05-18 22:14

    An historical novel of startling imagination, ever-ready humor, and sumptuous humanity. Frances Sherwood reinvents Prague at the dawn of the the 17th Century, and in particular its legendary Jewsih Quarter. She creates an Old-World version of the melting pot, in which the the unseen world too goes into the mix, in the form of spell-casting, alchemy, and a ghetto-protecting golem. Sherwood's world is never merely a fantasy, afflicted with moral quandaries and physical threats quite painfully real, but its venality and danger never entirely dim the silvery joy that glimmers at their backs.

  • Ariel
    2019-05-13 23:16

    I love Prague under Rudolph II, the wacky monarch who was into alchemy, astrology, and pretty much anything else. It really is true that Rudolf's court included John Dee, the English alchemist, and his creepy assistant Edward Kelley who supposedly communicated with angels, AND at the same time the Maharal (Reb Judah Loew) was living in Prague's Judenstadt and supposedly creating the Golem. But it is a pretty picked over historical moment for me at this point between The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkowski, The Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, and, best of all Lisa Goldstein's The Alchemist's Daughter. This take on Rudolph's reign just didn't hold my attention.

  • Lake County Public Library
    2019-05-13 05:15

    "Through the early 1800s the tallgrass prairie began north and west of the Wabash river in Indiana and covered most of Illinois and Iowa and parts of Missouri, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, with bits in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Ohio. Early settlers who were accustomed to the heavily wooded west coast were astounded when they viewed tallgrass in historical perspective and introduces readers to the native flora and fauna of this region. After two hundred years of development, there is little left of the tallgrass and he praises the efforts of people and institutions that have preserved bits of it for us to enjoy."SA/Retired

  • Dawn
    2019-05-04 02:09

    A compelling story, but the mysticism took me by surprise and made it a bit unsettling for me. As a recent traveler to Prague, the author really brought the ancient city alive to me. I wish I would have finished reading the book before my visit. The book renewed my love for the Jewish people and their traditions and gave me a greater sadness over all the suffering they have endured over the centuries, particularly at the hands of Christians who should know better. I would read another book by this author because of all I learned through her historical research and her intriguing plot twists.

  • Maria
    2019-05-20 00:15

    I consider Philosophy, Theology, and Mythology to be very interesting and this novel includes them all. Besides, it is also a love story. Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the organization of the writing was sometimes confusing. For instance, after talking about the Emperor's desire to be immortal, the next chapter would begin with the Rabbi in Judenstadt. This is a great book on Jewish folklore and the opression of the Jewish people in Prague during the seventeeth century. Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend who enjoys reading philosophical literature.

  • Evan Brandt
    2019-05-09 05:25

    This book had a lyric quality to it and is set in that time when fledgling science mixed with charlatanism and mysticism, some of which is valid, as if the time and beliefs made it possible.The characters are well-defined and the circumstances amusing and exciting, although the narrative rambles a bit.My only real complaint was that the book peters out a bit and does not reach a definitive conclusion, although, perhaps given the uncertainty and transitive nature of the period, is exactly what it should do.

  • Catharine Bramkamp
    2019-05-16 04:38

    Great if you are on the way to visit Prague. Now I want to!

  • Carmen
    2019-04-23 00:24

    Set in 1600 to 1601 in Prague. A Jewish girl is highlighted in this story. Grateful to be married because she has no dowry she sews for her shoemaker husband. Somehow they attract the attention of the emperor and he tries to bed Rochel. It doesn't work. Her community saves her. But then her community lets her down and tries to kill her when the Catholic part of Prague decides enough is enough and wants to decimate the Jews. They blame her because she had an affair while she was married. Names like Golem come up, which reminds me of the Lord of the Rings.

  • Emily
    2019-05-07 06:25

    This book carried me away from the present, which I love. I arrived to 17th century Prague, where the emperor is crazy, the Holy Roman Empire is trembling with the threat of decomposition, and the Jews find their safety constantly in jeopardy. It's a story of unlikely lovers, traditions both brutal and beautiful, and structures of power that frustrate me to no end. While there were moments of artistic jumble that could easily be mistaken for incoherence (maybe rightly so), I enjoyed this book.

  • Chris
    2019-05-12 00:16

    I wanted to like this book a little more than I did. It's not a bad book; it's a rather good book. The problem is that I had a hard time feeling connected to the characters. What I did like about the book, and what saves the book, is the theme. While using mystical motifs, Sherwood creates a tale about a couple who both grow up. Rachel does this by becoming an adult, and Zev does this by allowing Rachel to be herself, by seeing differences and accepting them. It's nice to see that.

  • Phair
    2019-05-06 01:34

    I can't really recommend this as a "good read". To me the style was too convoluted -maybe the disjointed story was supposed to be reflective of the Emperor's madness?? Anyway- I was drawn by the similarity of the plot to one of my favorites: Marge Piercy's He, She and It which also follows the story of the Golem of Prague. Apart from some interesting historical characters (Brahe, Keppler, Dee) this was pretty much a dud for me and it was a slog to even finish it.

  • Kyra
    2019-04-26 22:10

    This started off really really slow but by the time I was halfway through I was totally hooked. Set in early 17th century Prague, this book includes a crazy Hapsburg emperor, a learned rabbi, Tycho Brahe complete with silver nose, Kepler, Dr John Dee,a beautiful blond Jewess and a golem. Largely historical and semi-fantastical, all the various sub-plots finally come together to a riveting conclusion. A rare find indeed from the Clatskanie Public Library.I think Bianka would like it.

  • Valissa
    2019-05-02 06:14

    "We must talk only of cheerful things, not mourn, not fear. Give the world a chance. On this one day, it is perfect." [Shabbat]"Not that she ever had or would have any occasion to try His patience, yet His retribution seemed excessive, and even the innocent paid dearly.""Kirakos is cynical, and perhaps that is a kind of evil, a failure of the heart"

  • Janellyn51
    2019-04-24 02:28

    I liked this book. For some reason I kept finding and reading books that have stuff about the Plague. I found the stuff about the flagellists interesting. I've always been somewhat intrigued about jewish mysticism so I found that aspect of it interesting. I'll probably never get to Prague so I found it interesting reading about that city.