I enjoyed this book for the most part -- it had echoes of "The Weight of Water" but lacked the literary tightness. Still, one is drawn into the story, wanting and caring to know the outcome.
I thought the protagonist, Abby, was a sympathetically portrayed character whose distress and subsequent actions after a momentary lapse of supervision over a small girl were believable, and that readers/listeners can readily relate to her overwhelming feelings of guilt and confusion. The introductory passages to the chapters were intriguing, and I hope that the author's future writing will reflect more of the ambiguity of life and less of the "tie up all the loose ends" like a TV drama.
In short, I don't think you would be disappointed in this book or regret spending money on it, but you may find some irksome - though not critical - flaws.
I have immense respect for Thomas Cahill and this series. Cahill manages to cover a lot of ground in a few steps, encompassing politics, religion, art and culture in an engaging and informative style. His strength is in his ability to make history relevant -- why we should care what happened nine centuries or two millenia before we arrived. Where other texts often treat the reader to accounts drier than the bones of these long-dead movers and shakers, Cahill makes them as alive as the people we gossip about, and understands well what facets of a particular age will appeal to today's readers. I highly recommend this book, as well as any of the others in this series, "The Hinges of History."
So, to the one caveat: Cahill's politics do creep in; however, he offers his opinions openly and briefly.
The best way to describe this book is to say that it is like Patricia Cornwell rewrote Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose." It is not particularly erudite, but having researched this time period rather extensively, I can't find fault with the author's research that is not included in the afterward. Yes, the "body farm" is a bit precious, but overall, the premise of the book is believable and entertaining. That it occassionally ventures into the "romance" genre is, thankfully, brief and primarily forgivable.
I was, though, disappointed in the lack of strong characterization -- Adelia is well-drawn, but there aren't any other fully-rounded personalities, which would have added greatly to the overall story and more emotionally invested the listener/reader.
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