Father Ignaz (Ygnacio) Pfefferkorn, a missionary from the Sonora Desert region of northern Mexico, is caught in the Expulsion of all Jesuits in 1767. After enduring eight years of prison and abuse, he is incarcerated in Caridad Monastery where the abbot recruits him to help solve two murders. In the course of his investigations, Father Ignaz finds his own life in peril.
If you could sum up The Storks of La Caridad in three words, what would they be?
Alive, Engaging, Real
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storks of La Caridad?
Throughout, the way the tension builds incrementally without seeming forced or contrived
What about Fred Filbrich’s performance did you like?
How one voice can bring to life the interior and exterior of so many characters is a mystery to me.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I sat in the parking lot (of my destination) for 45 minutes to finish the chapter I had just begun when I arrived. It was that good.
Any additional comments?
I don't like audio books. I prefer the "feel" of a paper book in my hands, and I was skeptical about this on in particular because I had so enjoyed "Storks" when I read it some years ago. But THIS audio book was "the impossible dream" .. and audio book that moved as quickly and as surely as original. Weinberg's Pfefferkorn has found the perfect voice in Filbrich, and comes alive in a new way. I cannot say enough good things about this merging. I enjoyed it on several levels.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A mystery that begins in the Sonoran desert of NW Mexico, with the expulsion of the Jesuits in the mid 18th Century, The Storks of La Caridad enmeshes a fictional story into the very real history of Mexico under rule of the Spanish Empire. The tale pivots around ‘Father Ignatio’s’ sense of honor to his vows of obedience. But, behind the story-line lies the very real events of the time period when King Charles, III felt that the Jesuits had amassed too much wealth and influence over the affairs of the Spanish Empire. It was believed that they had discovered rich mines from which they derived immense wealth in the desert. Many of the priests of that order were shipped to Spanish prisons and locked away during the expulsion. This left a vacuum in the Spanish American colonies, because the Jesuit Order had built hospitals and schools, educating the native populations. Many of the priests that were expelled from the empire there had been born on the continent, so they weren’t even European.
But, Father Ignatio’s character is believed to have knowledge of locations of treasure mines, and because he couldn’t give them that information, he has been treated very roughly before arriving at the Cathedral of “Kindness.” Storks live outside the bell-tower window and that becomes a big part of expressing his desire for freedom. Ignatio becomes embroiled in the politics of the monastery and gets involved in investigating a couple of murders, which almost leads to his own murder.
The book includes many historical and literary tie-ins, such as the effects of malaria, drugs like quinine, references to Don Quijote’s Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance, and customs and ideas of the day, like blood-letting. And, there are thoughtful moral points on The Fall of Adam and Eve.
"Once they’d discerned evil, they all too often chose it."
"God’s mercy compensates for the cruelty of mankind."
Florence Weinberg uses language in a thoughtful manner that is easy to appreciate. For example, at one moment when Ignatio looks up from his sickbed to see a hooded monk hovering over him about to strike, he muses:
" Certainly I’d be sick enough almost to welcome brother death."
In researching some of the historical details of this book, I discovered I’d inadvertently started in the wrong place. This book is actually the third in a series about Ignatio. In a way, though I’d never have committed this ‘transgression’ willfully, it was partly a relief to discover that it was a series. I was glad to know that there is not only another sequel after this, but two more books came before it. I’m certainly glad to have those to turn to, since I’m into this story too deeply now to bail. So, though I recommend it heartily for mystery lovers, I hope you will do the right thing and start at the beginning. I read the Audible version narrated by Fred Filbrich. I discovered it while perusing the list of Filbrich’s other narrations, after reading 35 Miles From Shore.
I read the book as part of my 2018 Voyage around the World in 80 Books. I started in my home country of the USA, and then moved to Jamaica in the Caribbean. Now I’ve visited Mexico with The Storks of La Caridad. I changed my originally intended Mexico read from Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes because it has turned out to be quite a lengthy read. With all the research needed, Terra Nostra will take me a couple more months most likely to finish. With that on the backburner now I can move ahead South to Guatamala to continue my journey around the World.