This book had such promise. Every other chapter describes an object with mystical qualities known to be owned by a famous ancient alchemist. The book begins with the death of a mysterious professor from Estonia in Eastern Europe. A small town reporter, initially seeking only to write an obituary, begins to find more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the author does not follow through on this exciting premise and leaves the reader very unsatisfied. If you are interested in this book, you might want to check out _Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_ by Susanna Clarke.
I acquired this book new in the summer of 2009, but didn't get around to reading it (since the reviews by other members were only "lukewarm") until March of 2011. Once I finally did, however, was I surprised! I liked it a lot. From the outset I was drawn by the author's marvelous writing style. Magnetic is a good word to describe it. The layout of the book with the actual story interrupted thoughout by the historical description of the various items of antiquity along with correspondence of questinable rellevance, makes it somewhat difficult to follow at first, but once the reader comes to grip with the fact that the author apparently has a purpose for doing this, it becomes quite a bit easier. Overall, I'd have to say it was well worth sticking with -- a most enjoyable story.
Strange. Every other chapter is about a newspaper reporter trying to write an obit for a mysterious college professor. The other chapters are wild histories of fantastic mystical objects. Back and forth, back and forth... you're kept wondering why did the guy die and why are we forced to read about certain antiques. I finally gave up on the historical chapters and read about the reporter's journey. Somewhat interesting but the end was disappointing. Boo.
Excellent concept very unevenly executed. The "flashback" chapters that describe the objects in the title's library are creative and fascinating; the "modern day" chapters seemed flat, probably because it was hard for me to take any interest in the main character. I just couldn't relate to him and didn't much like him, even though I wanted to, and the other characters weren't interesting enough to me to make up for him. Didn't finish this book, unfortunately. I had real high hopes for it.
Great read, found that I didn't want to put the book down. The names of some of the secondary charaters, the ones involved with the "items" in the library, where a bit confusing. I do have a bunch of unanswered questions. Some of those would probably be answered if I reread the book, but I have so little time and too many books!
I so enjoyed reading this book until the last few chapters. What a letdown!! I can't even express how disappointing I found the end, enough to ruin the book for me, which was an otherwise enjoyable read.
A recluse scholar dies under obscure circumstances and a novice reporter pursues a story that began 900 years ago with the theft of alchemical instruments from the court geographer of Sicily. The story follows the trail of several artifacts taking you on a journey around the world throughout time. DaVinci Code-esq
This book barely kept my interest. It jumps back and forth between a rather lugburious young man in his post-college years to various characters over the centuries who possess strange objects that help them prolong their lives, but they don't seem as cute as Bilbo and Frodo. It's rather predictable.
I really liked this book and am surprised by some of the poor reviews it's had here on PBS.
At first, the story is slow-going and hard to follow because every other chapter jumps back in time to relay how an item from "the geographer's library" is acquired by the Russians/Soviets. Nevertheless, I found it interesting. By the time I was midway through the book, my reading pace had picked up significantly and I was racing to the end to find out how it all came together.
This was an intriguing global adventure, a mystery/thriller set in various places and times. From some reviews I read in advance, I expected it to be somewhat like The DaVinci Code, but it wasn't. It was excellent in a completely different way.