Friday, December 13, 2013

Review: The Scribe by Antonio Garrido

The Scribe
 is the second novel I've read by the author Antonio Garrido. Because I lovedThe Corpse Reader so much, I thought he'd be able to bottle that thunder in a novel again. Although I didn't find The Scribe as gripping as it's predecessor, I still very much so enjoyed the title.

The Scribe takes place during year 799 and coincides with King Charlemange being crowned Emperor. Theresa, the novel's central character, wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps. She has been molded from a young age to take on the esteemed profession and bear the task of recording the towns records. After training as an apprentice, she is up for testing when a terrible accident leaves her fleeing for her life. Much of the novel centers around her travels while away from home and the people she comes into contact with.

Antonio Garrido, from what I've noticed, features characters who have tremendous odds set against them but are quite talented in respects to their fields. Ci Song (fromThe Corpse Reader) was extremely studied in his skill of reading corpse' as Theresa is in her ability to read, write, and do all the functions necessary for the job. Theresa's biggest obstacle, besides the bad guy, is that during medieval times, there was no human resources. Women's rights was definitely not on the horizon so aside from dealing with the constant badgering of horny men, being female was enough to disqualify her. What resonates most with readers regarding both characters is that they still don't give up their hopes and we find them have a sort of coming of age in the process.

After a mugging involving Theresa and her father Gorgias in Wurzburg, an important codex is believed to be stolen. This really sets the story in motion and allows readers to realize that there is something suspicious going on. What's in this document and why's it so important? This question only lingers for a few pages when Garrido's long-windedness almost causes me to forget about it. I'm all for long books and I appreciate Garrido's attention to detail and character development, but it didn't seem important after awhile because the focus was on Theresa's new life. I felt that Gorgias was MIA for too long to remember he was missing a codex.

As mentioned in the last paragraph, Garrido gives life to his characters. There is a profound attention to detail that I love when reading historical fiction. He goes into detail about how the parchment paper of the time was made and the process. Garrido manages to make the reader feel as though they are plopped right into the medieval times. His characters are dealing with the food shortage, ergot poisoning, religious unification or persecution, and living in harmony with Carolingian laws.

Antonio Garrido is definitely climbing the list of my go-to authors. The Scribe was enjoyable and I recommend it to fans of historical fiction mysteries. I look forward to Garrido's next book.  ***

Copy provided by AmazonCrossing 

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