An international phenomenon, an ambitious, brilliant and angry historical novel written by four young Italian men, and a bestseller across Europe.
The former Watford and AC Milan striker Luther Blissett had nothing to do with the writing of this book. The real authors of Q live in Bologna.
Rich religious history is turned into bloated, tedious fiction in this Reformation-age epic produced by four anonymous writers lurking behind a pseudonym. In 1517, Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral. In 1525, a one-time theological student, a radical Anabaptist who goes under a number of names over the course of the narrative, but who is initially called Gustav Metzger, pulls off the first of a number of hairbreadth escapes from heretic hunters keen to spill the blood of any would-be supporter of Luther. For the next 30 years, even as Protestantism slowly makes inroads across Europe, Metzger is tracked by a papal spy who, traveling incognito under the eponymous moniker Q, keeps his boss apprised while he and his compatriots attempt to crush the movement on behalf of the Vatican before the schism widens. Needless to say, they fail. Translator Whiteside has done the best he could with the material: stripped-down chapters breathlessly composed of short, snappy paragraphs ("The girl smiles. She's extremely beautiful") alternate with epistolary passages given a faux-historical gloss. Speech anachronisms abound throughout, especially when events are related by Metzger and company ("`What the fuck did you say? What? So you're not dead, but you scare me anyway, pal, you scare me'"), and most of the characters sound so alike that not only do they remain lifeless on the page, they are often indistinguishable from one another. A good amount of historical research is lumped throughout, but the period stylings are wooden and the story never gains enough momentum to carry readers along. (May 4) Forecast: This was a cult hit in Europe, but will face a struggle in the U.S., despite a striking jacket and enticing doorstop heft. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Crafted by four fledgling authors and published anonymously in Italy, this literary thriller became a best seller with a cult following throughout Europe. In 1517 Germany, as the Reformation gets underway, a fired-up young Anabaptist plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a papal spy known only as Q. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
It bracingly reanimates an era of frenzy that longed to burn the
world clean * The Guardian *
The mud and blood, visions and ideals of 16th-century Europe come back to gruesome, glorious life * The Independent *
Big and bloody and breathtaking: a crush of colour and crowds, exotic locations and war. * The Times *
Imagine Umberto Eco's knack for the swashbuckling thriller-of-ideas crossed with an artful touch of the Le Carr's - it boasts pace, colour, excitement and suspense to spare- Q works like a charm as a sordid, splendid period romp. * Independent *
If ever there was a novel that deserved to win prizes, accolades and plaudits, it is Q - A rich, inventive and immensely powerful book - Q is a great novel, one that tells us about ourselves and how we came to be here. * Scotland on Sunday *