Being an action junkie, I found the pace of this story to be excruciatingly slow. The author, Sarah Dunant, described convent life in such laborious detail that I felt every bit the prisoner listening as Serafina, the 16-year-old protagonist, enslaved to the sisters of the Santa Caterina convent. What kept me engaged was sympathy for Serafina while she endured abject despair. Fortunately, there is a satisfying ending.
Students of history will enjoy the well-researched background material provided by the author and Rosalyn Landor does an excellent job with the narration. Her characters have distinct voices that are easy to identify.
Basil's epic quest to create the silver chalice takes him from Antioch to Jerusalem to Rome where he meets such historic characters as Luke, Paul, and Joseph of Arimathea. The author presents vivid descriptions of everyday life during the 1st century and has obviously done considerable research. David Case does an excellent job providing unique voices for the many characters. I found this story of faith and romance to be delightful.
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