Author: Ben Hopkins
Published by: Europa Editions on Jan. 21, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 8.5/10
A thoroughly immersive read and a remarkable feat of imagination, Cathedral tells a sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire in gripping prose. It deftly combines historical fiction and a tale of adventure and intrigue.
At the center of this story is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 12th and 13th centuries in the town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. Around this narrative center, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise.
Fans of Umberto Eco, Hilary Mantel, and Ken Follett will delight at the atmosphere, the beautiful prose, and the vivid characters of Ben Hopkins’s Cathedral.
Vivid, immersive, and fascinating!
Cathedral is a rich, compelling tale set in Hagenburg, Germany during the twelfth and thirteenth century that takes you into the lives of ship merchants, stonecutters, Jewish moneylenders, architects, pirates, priests, architects, sovereigns, and builders as they struggle for riches, stature, and survival.
The writing is sharp and alluring. The characters are bold, driven, and ruthless. And the plot is a sweeping tale of harsh living, unexpected friendships, domestic contentions, desires, debauchery, degradation, vanity, corruption, sacrifices, treachery, and entangled relationships, all set to the backdrop of the reconstruction of a mammoth cathedral, and the ongoing discord between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire.
Overall, Cathedral is an absorbing, dramatic, enthralling saga by Hopkins that is quite a hefty endeavour at just over 600 pages, but with its short chapters, beautiful prose, vibrant characters, and lush descriptions this is one meaty, medieval tale that, in my opinion, is definitely worth the effort.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.