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The Lost Book of the Grail: A Novel by…

The Lost Book of the Grail: A Novel

by Charlie Lovett

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1078112,824 (3.98)5



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It didn't take me very long at all to fall head over heels in love with this book, and I believe that any reader who loves excellent characterization and a story filled with ancient books, buildings, and history will, too. If readers also love stories about the quest for the Holy Grail, well, that's just icing on the cake. I qualified on all scores, and I loved The Lost Book of the Grail.

First and foremost are the characters. Arthur is as emotionally hidden as the Grail. He has two good friends and his cathedral library, and that seems to be all he wants-- except for the lost book of Ewolda. Bethany is young and pretty and smart, and she blows into Arthur's life like a blast of fresh spring air, but she, too, has her secrets. Watching these two dance around each other is one of the joys of reading the book.

There's also some code breaking to do, and although I found that part absorbing, I was drawn time and time again to the characters because Lovett provides vignettes of the panoply of people charged with keeping Barchester Cathedral and its library safe. From the cathedral's founder to bombing during World War II to the present day, there are some wonderful characters to meet. My favorite of them all is probably Margret Barlow, a simple woman of wisdom and common sense who discharged her duties with grace and speed during a time of great danger. Character-driven readers are probably going to love this book every bit as much as I did (and do).

If you're worried that the book is going to be buried under King Arthur and his knights along with that Grail, it's not. The Lost Book of the Grail is a feast for readers who love characters and books and history-- and who realize how important they are in this world. What a marvelous reading experience! ( )
  cathyskye | Aug 1, 2017 |
I, like Arthur Prescott, delight in Arthurian legend, and lived in reading about Arthur and his adventures. But, this book drags along with pedantic prose. I stopped many times and went to another book, but would return to attempt to find some motivation to continue reading. I did enjoy the chapters devoted to the medieval monastery. I finished reading the book, after many agonizing stops and starts, but Thomas Malory's writing brings greater enjoyment. ( )
  delphimo | Jul 29, 2017 |
An unusual mystery in that it features a treasure hunt rather than a crime. The history of Barchester Cathedral and a fabulous relic are interwoven with the contemporary story of Arthur Prescott's search for the lost Book ow Ewolda, a history of the founder of the abbey established in Saxon times. A young American shows up with the job of digitizing the manuscripts in the cathedral library. Arthur is appalled at the prospect but eventually comes to terms with the process and warms to Bethany. The search for Ewolda's history becomes urgent when the need to repair major structural damage makes the sale of the manuscripts imminent. ( )
  ritaer | Jun 30, 2017 |
Fun read for book lovers and followers of Arthurian legend. With the addition of a little light romance, it provides an escape from the everyday world. ( )
  plnorris | May 11, 2017 |
"Lazarus keeps excellent circulation records, and when I checked the book out, the librarian, who was of course a friend of mine, informed me that I was the first to do so since 1875. I laughed and said to him, 'Who on earth do you suppose they bought it for?' and without pausing a second to think he said, in all seriousness, 'Why, Arthur, they bought it for you.' That's the point of a library. A book that no one wants to read today may be essential for someone in the future. So we save them, we protect them."

Superbly satisfying. A true delight for bibliophiles, medieval history buffs, and those who appreciate a good old fashioned treasure hunt. Lovett's latest tale is a cheerful jaunt ripe with history and the joys of books. Arthur and Bethany's rousing discussions about the merits of digitizing versus traditional library formats were particularly engaging.

Arthur is an English professor, Holy Grail enthusiast, and curmudgeonly Luddite who has haunted the Barchester Cathedral Library for much of his adult life. Following a childhood immersed in Arthurian legend, he has been passively pursuing the mystery of the mythical Holy Grail for years with limited success. But the sudden appearance of the youthful and passionate Bethany, arriving in his sleepy English town to digitize the cathedral's medieval manuscripts, takes his predictable life in a wildly unexpected direction. Butting heads over modernity but discovering a shared love for Grail lore, the unlikely duo set out to pursue a series of clues and long kept secrets, making a myriad of new discoveries about life, love, and medieval history along the way. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
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No age lives entirely alone; every civilization is formed not merely by its own achievements but by what it has inherited from the past. If these things are destroyed, we have lost a part of our past, and we shall be the poorer for it. - Major Ronald Balfour
To me Barset has been a real county, and its city a real city, and the spires and towers have been before my eyes, and the voices of the people are known to my ears, and the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps. - Anthony Trollope
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Barchester was not equipped with air-raid sirens, being both beyond the range of German bombers and of no strategic value -- but bomber squadrons could become lost on nights when fog unexpectedly blanketed the south of England, and while the emergence of a cathedral spire from that fog might confirm to the navigator that he was too far off course to return home safely, to the bombardier it would recall the words of the commanding officer: "Some target is better than no target."
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