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Ex-Libris (1998)

by Ross King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1512711,900 (3.35)26
Responding to a cryptic summons to a remote country house, London bookseller Isaac Inchbold finds himself responsible for restoring a magnificent library pillaged during the English Civil War, and in the process slipping from the surface of 1660s London into an underworld of spies and smugglers, ciphers and forgeries. As he assembles the fragments of a complex historical mystery, Inchbold learns how Sir Ambrose Plessington, founder of the library, escaped from Bohemia on the eve of the Thirty Years War with plunder from the Imperial Library. Inchbold's hunt for one of these stolen volumes - a lost Hermetic text - soon casts him into an elaborate intrigue; his fortunes hang on the discovery of the missing manuscript but his search reveals that the elusive volume is not what it seems and that he has been made an unwitting player in a treacherous game.… (more)
  1. 60
    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
    Lemprière'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 26 mentions

English (26)  Catalan (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A book of fiction written by a non-fiction writer --- what could go wrong did go wrong. The storyline is cartoon like and the dialoque pedestrian and thin. Written as a mystery adventure, the tandem story lines coalesce around important books, the English Civil War, and the Thirty Years War. Only one character is fully developed. The narrative functions as a hook upon which the author hangs much of what he knows about the world of 1600 - 1660. Three stars are generous. ( )
1 vote Notmel | Aug 25, 2019 |
A book that didn't quite meet my expectations. Too much history, too much travels & searches with no real purpose (or so it seemed) and too little thrilling elements.

In the end the story of one of the travels meets the people who are engaged in conversation. That was nice, but did not really affect my overall opinion on the book. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Oct 12, 2018 |
This book has some useful insights on the history of the Catholic vs. Protestant conflicts in Europe. The narrative was a bit fuzzy at times. I think I liked the concept of the book more than the book itself. ( )
  EllsbethB | Jan 30, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ross Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bassols, R. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bassols, Rosa MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Me, poor man, my library
was dukedom large enough...
Shakespeare, The Tempest
For Lynn
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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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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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!
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