This is a fantastic novel by Matthew Pearl. It offers the reader an interesting and captivating mystery that must be solved by the members of the Dante Club (a real group)–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J.T. Fields. These real historical figures are perfectly positioned to solve a series of murders around Cambridge, MA. because all assist Longfellow on his translation of Dante’s masterpiece into English. The macabre crimes replicate scenes from Dant’s Inferno, which leave the Boston police baffled.
The author makes the inclusion of these real men, all primarily professors or related to literature, come alive with well-researched historical facts, settings, and dialogue of the Civil War era. Any reader that enjoys a riveting mystery, whether knowledgeable about Dante’s works or not, will delight in this wonderful story. 5 stars.
Literary and mystery readers will probably enjoy this novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte. I have enjoyed several other novels by this author. This one is steeped in the works of Alexandre Dumas, especially the characters of The Three Musketeers.
For me, I found times where the narrative thrilled me and others not so much. The former usually came from the story of the subplot relating to the Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows. That storyline is the basis for the movie version of this novel, The Ninth Gate, starring Johnny Depp.
The story is far too complicated to explain (sorry). If anything I’ve written here has piqued your interest, then take the plunge and begin reading.
Overall, an intriguing read.
Now onto another Club–The Dante Club.
#Readers of classics, I found this last section of Dante’s great work the least interesting, though the most poetic. Dante is accepted into the circles of heaven, each of which offers greater brilliance of illumination as he ascends. His account of his journey is deeply influenced by the teachings of the Greek philosophers and the Catholic Church. For this third part, I give 2 stars, which gives an aggregate rating of 3 stars for the entire work.
#Readers, I have made it through Dante’s Purgatorio, where with each ascending circle a “P” is removed from his forehead.This denotes the cleansing of a sin (peccata in Italian. Again, the tale is filled with personal encounters with friends or enemies (annotations help). Virgil has been replaced by Beatrice, as his guide. She represents a former true love, as well asDivine Wisdom. 3 stars (as it was more tedious).