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Ex-Libris by Ross King
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Ex-Libris (original 1998; edition 2002)

by Ross King

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967258,930 (3.34)15
Member:mccardey
Title:Ex-Libris
Authors:Ross King
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2002), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:bibliophilia, fiction

Work details

Ex-Libris by Ross King (1998)

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  1. 50
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (roby72)
  2. 40
    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (amyblue)
  3. 10
    The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: These books have some common themes, so may be enjoyed by the same people, but where Ex Libris is more of a "biblio-mystery", The Island of The Day Before is more of a general novel. Both books focus to a certain degree on the Age of Discovery, in the 17th Century, and the Longitude problem. They feature the historical conflicts, ships, and sailing, but this is perhaps where the similarities end. The Island of The Day before is better written, but whether you prefer the plot of one or the other will be due to personal preference. If you have an interest in the period, and enjoyed reading one, then I could recommend the other as a potential future read.… (more)
  4. 00
    Scholarium by Claudia Gross (amyblue)
  5. 00
    Lempriere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: The common themes between these books include long voyages on ships, the historical disputes between England and Europe, books, intrigue, spying, and conspiracy, where the protagonist is wrapped up in a series of events beyond his control, which he does not understand. So, if you enjoy one, you should enjoy the other. But, what Ex Libris does, Lempriere's Dictionary does better, there is more intrigue, bigger and better conspiracies, a better plot, and overall it is better written. Ex Libris is shorter, and easier going due to its not being as dense, it also focuses more on books, and is set a bit earlier, so may appeal more to some people for these reasons, for example if you struggled with Lempriere's Dictionary.… (more)
  6. 01
    A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss (amyblue)
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» See also 15 mentions

English (24)  Catalan (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This was billed as a literary mystery and it was enjoyable in that respect but there was also alot of history and religion and my knowledge of the Thirty Year's War and Counter-Reformation were pretty severely strained. It was enjoyable to read, I just let it pull me along and didn't worry much about sorting out too much of the names and places, just did my best with it. My biggest complaint is that the grand conclusion, soon followed by the stunning loss of vital knowledge, didn't seem so stunning because we've got that all now. But fun to read and not the boring awful chore of some simliar works. (The Name of the Rose, The Rule of Four , The Geographer's Library
1 vote amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
I had a good time in this murder mystery full of Cryptographic, Bibliographic and cartographic details. It should be re-issued and will do well. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Feb 20, 2014 |
A nice historical mystery involving lots of period detail, with good plotting and mostly interesting characters. The breadth of historical context King manages to fit in is impressive. ( )
1 vote randalrh | Sep 21, 2013 |
I really wanted to like this one. There were lots of individual details that were nice to stumble into, but somehow the end results didn't blend into a tale that captured my attention. It seemed like it would have all the right ingredients: English history, mystery, books, but it didn't work for me.
  bookczuk | Dec 8, 2011 |
A Mr Potato Head Historical Novel: Remember that toy, Mr Potato Head? It consisted of various plastic ears, noses, and hats that you could pin onto a potato to turn it into Mr Potato Head. Children loved it, but to adults it was only a potato with plastic trimmings. Just so with Ross King's dreadful Ex Libris. Although it is crammed with recondite allusions to hermetic philosophy, the Thirty Years War, colonial malfeasance, and Restoration-era intrigue, they nothing more than gratuitous add-ons. When you see through the rather heavy-handed "historical" material, what you have here is a total potato: starchy, bland, and shapeless. Ross's work has been compared to that of Ian Pears, Lawrence Norfolk, and Charles Palliser and the comparisons are totally invidious. The above named are terrific authors whose works are immersed in, and engage with, history. Ross's work is less an historical fiction than a wretched pastiche of others' historical fictions. It is woodenly written; the characters are flat; and the pacing is as limp and flaccid as a week old lettuce. It was a struggle to finish. Read Instance of the Fingerpost instead . . .
2 vote lonepalm | Dec 8, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Me, poor man, my library was dukedom large enough... (Shakespeare, "The Tempest" )
Dedication
For Lynn.
First words
Anyone wishing to purchase a book in London in the year 1660 had a choice of four areas.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Bookseller Isaac Inchblood is hired by a lady to find a book and its secret labyrinth of the world. Tells of her father's search, to save it and other books from the Spanish. Inchblood researches her history. Finds information related to Galileo, work on how to discover longitude at sea, Galileo's problems with the Catholic Church... Jupiter's moons and the search for El Dorado!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142000809, Paperback)

A cryptic summons to a remote country house launches Isaac Inchbold, a London bookseller and antiquarian, on an odyssey through seventeenth-century Europe. Charged with the task of restoring a magnificent library destroyed by the war, Inchbold moves between Prague and the Tower Bridge in London, his fortunes—and his life—hanging on his ability to recover a missing manuscript. Yet the lost volume is not what it seems, and his search is part of a treacherous game of underworld spies and smugglers, ciphers, and forgeries. Inchbold's adventure is compelling from beginning to end as Ross King vividly recreates the turmoil of Europe in the seventeenth century—the sacks of great cities; Raleigh's final voyage; the quest for occult knowledge; and a watery escape from three mysterious horsemen.

A Book Sense 76 pick

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Hired to restore a once-magnificent library that had been ravaged during the English Civil War, London bookseller Isaac Inchbold becomes embroiled in the search for a missing manuscript and a conspiracy of spies, smugglers, and forgery.

(summary from another edition)

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