“…they had shaved heads. Drilled into their foreheads was a small green stone, big as a lead ball. In one cell a man hung stretched against the wall, fastened with iron around his wrists and feet and with a hood over his face.”
It is 1613 and yes, I know what you are thinking – ah, same old, same old… tortures, witches, monks, horses, beer. You are very close to the truth, my friend… but this book is all about:
- Black magic – to resurrect the dead and prevent death from occurring. How? By using innocent people in experiments you can’t even imagine.
- Female breasts – large, medium and small. Pick any.
What else do you need for a successful story?
The place: Bohemia (I guess, somewhere near Prague) – a city with one bar, a dumb protestant priest and a big, never-ending forest. Add bad weather. Actually, Bohemia is used quite often in English literature, usually represents the Czech Kingdom (bordered by Austria, Bavaria, Saxony and Poland).
The plot: A group of Jesuits has disappeared in a tiny shit-hole village. What had the men of the church been doing there? Ray’s guess – looking for big breasts. The head of the Jesuits is sending his pay-by-click assassin to find out if anybody is still alive. “Breasts are precious. Breasts are worth more than diamonds!”
I see your excitement… calm down, my friend.
“No matter who you were in sixteenth-century Europe, you could be sure of two things: you would be lucky to reach fifty years of age, and you could expect a life of discomfort and pain.” Philip Ball
Signor Francesco Foscari (Jesuit) and Signor Raffiano Nero (the roman inquisitor) – both are annoying, old, powerful and dangerous.
Max – a little eccentric, skinny, simply dressed and a church-assassin. His past is hunting him everywhere – his twin sister has been burned alive for her magical abilities (witch). Huge sex drive.
Bertuccio – his pupil (and pretending-to-be-servant). Zero sex for Bertuccio in this novel. I felt kinda sorry for the guy…
Magdalen – a baroness (widow) who drinks beer for breakfast. Insomniac, hot, always busy, reads a lot, kind, has strong hands and curly hair.
Else – 17, a servant and in love with the baroness.
Herr Count von Birgen – abusive little dung. Keeps his female servants in cages. Loves hunting. Liar. Good actor.
Language and style: No doubt you’ll understand who killed all those poor Jesuits, BUT there’s a great hook in each chapter and you’ll continue reading, in disbelief, that the bad guy is the one you adore. And most important – you’d like him/or her to survive two pistols (with silver bullets) of Max-assassin.
The hook is the short diary notes:
“The patient obeys commands in a satisfactory manner.
The control mechanism appears to be functioning.”
“The patient has screamed incessantly for over an hour now.
Need to put it down. Must be doing something wrong.
Will halt current experiment.”
- Romantic touch
- Sex scenes
- Fight between Protestants and Catholics
- Diary notes
- Conversations in the bed, prison, bar
- Bertuccio is a flat hero. If you’d ask me to describe him – I honestly wouldn’t know what to say.
- Assassin shouldn’t forget what he’s made of when he sees a pair of cute legs.
By the way, did you know that the abbreviation “pro et contra” (as pros and cons) has been used since the 16th century? #LessonFromRay
To buy or not to buy? I don’t know. I got it for free, from the library. And it was my third ePub book (read on Kobo tablet).
“Inquisition as such, that is, apart from methods and severity of results, has remained a live institution. The many dictatorships of the 20C have relied on it and in free countries it thrives ad hoc – Hunting down German sympathizers during the First World War, interning Japanese-Americans during the second, and pursuing Communist fellow travelers during the Cold War. In the United States at the present time, the workings of ‘political correctness’ in universities and the speech police that punishes persons and corporations for words on certain topics quaintly called ‘sensitive,’ are manifestations of the permanent spirit of inquisition.”Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence
Next post – “The Pearl Territory”, chapter 3 #BoulderJakobs