One of the great fascinations I have in life is Medieval monasteries. So when this book became available I couldn't wait to read it.
It is set in Italy in the thirteenth century and is the story of a real historical character, a Scottish monk called Michael Scot. He has been asked by the Holy Roman Emperor, the pope, to translate the works of Aristotle so that the great knowledge from the classics can be known. Unfortunately, Aristotle's work is seen as heretical and Scot is told to stop. And herein lies the tale of the struggle.
This is a finely detailed and eloquent work. It is obvious that MacDonald is an academic both in the amount of historical facts and in the language used, sometimes at the detriment of the plot which sometimes wanders. There are a lot of characters and the historical observances often weigh down the narrative to a didactic level.
Still, this is a remarkable piece of work for anyone interested in this wonderful period in history.
Published by Fairlight Books on 5 September 2019.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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