Item description for In the Falcon's Claw: A Novel of the Year 1000 by Chet Raymo...
Overview In the year 998 A.D., the Apocalypse is believed imminent. Strengthened by a fearful populace, the Church is seeking to harness a decaying Holy Roman Empire by asserting its absolute authority in interpreting the will of God. Based on real events, this book magically evokes the political landscape of the 10th century.
Publishers Description In the year 998 A.D., the Apocalypse is believed imminent. Strengthened by a fearful and superstitious populace, the Church is seeking to harness a decaying Holy Roman Empire by asserting its absolute authority in interpreting the will of God. Aileran, a monk perceived as saintly, takes issue with the Church and is accused of heresy. Based on real events, places, and people, In the Falcon's Claw magically evokes the political and pastoral landscapes of tenth-century while exploring love, friendship and timeless spiritual and religious questions.
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Reviews - What do customers think about In the Falcon's Claw: A Novel of the Year 1000?
for the most part loved it, but... Jul 17, 2008
I have read much of Raymo's nonfiction, as well as his novel Dork of Cork - he has a wonderful way of bringing science and nature to the forefront. He does the same with this book. And like his other books, his writing is just perfect. But...
There are several situations in the book that are constantly mulled over by one of the characters - over and over again. I could have done less of that, and less introspection, and more debate between the two monks who were friends, with one becoming a pope (I didn't realize he was based on a real character) Also the time line of the book is rather difficult to keep straight - and I usually don't have problems with this. I had trouble remembering when the character had done something or if he was about to do something....Finally - there was a very Inquisition like section that made me wonder - was this happening that early? But overall, if you are interested in religious discussion, and discussion of miracles vs science/nature, this is a book to read.
Church historical - fiction at its best Apr 26, 2007
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (1/07)
In the year 998 A.D., the teaching of the Apocalypse is believed imminent and the year 1000 A.D. is established as the date for the long anticipated end of the world. A combination of fear and superstition among the church followers, and the attempt to strengthen the church at Rome at a time when the Roman Empire is crumbling, give cause for the church to focus on the final Day of Judgment. The Roman church declares itself to be the absolute authority in interpreting the scriptures and bidding of God. People are encouraged to prepare for the end times, to sell what they have and give it to the church.
Aileran, an Irish born monk, takes issue with the Church. Once he was acknowledged by the church and the people as saintly and now Aileran is accused of heresy. The novel is based on a mixture of real events and fictional characters. An illicit romance, greed, and power, draw the reader back to the tenth century. Raymo has developed a story that reflects science and nature in a spiritual setting toward the end of the Dark Ages in Europe.
The author has captured the essence of the political landscape era. The book is written as a memoir of Aileran and includes correspondence that offers additional insight and commentary to move the plot forward. The story explores love, friendship, and incorporates a profound questioning of ageless spiritual and religious questions. There is a theme contrasting cowardice and compromise that carries throughout this poignant story.
Raymo has a gift for using poetic descriptive prose that involves the five senses of the reader: colors that dazzle one's visions, word pictures of foods that waft with aromas which water the taste buds, textures that one can feel, and sounds that jar the eardrums, or harmony that implant a rhythm in one's soul. Passages from Solomon's song, the poetry of Ovid and Virgil enrich Aileran's journals.
I personally enjoyed a glimpse into the disciplines of the monastic life. Self-denial, penance, guilt, redemption, bigotry, deception, purity of heart, good works, repentance and forgiveness all come to play in this dramatic rendering of life in early church.
Brilliant writing, an expertly developed plot and characters, suspense, drama, and romance make this novel, "In the Falcon's Claw," a must read for all historical fiction lovers.
A Deeply Touching Novel Apr 17, 2007
I've read this book three times now and I'm sure that I will again. Chet Raymo is, in my humble opinion, one of America's best writers. In the Falcon's Claw he takes us to the world Christianity just before that other millennium -- the year 1000. Christianity by then had its strongest dogmatic grasp on the peoples of Europe and any other enlightened views within that religion were strongly repressed -- often with death. Common events in nature were nearly always seen as signs from God rather than just what they were. The protagonist Aileran, an Irish monk, rejects supernaturalism and, after many years of searching for some kind of enlightenment, finds himself, in the end, facing heresy charges in Rome -- under the authority of an old friend of his youth, Gerbert, who is now the Pope. A beautifully written book that is very relevant to the current dialog concerning faith and reason here at the next millennium.
Good book dealing with the life of unusual medieval pope Feb 26, 2007
Read it a while ago - the first edition came out in english in 1990 - but this novelized biography of Gerbert of Aurillac - a medieval scientist, unusually learned for his time in western europe and who would rule as a pope with the name of Sylvester II in the year 1000 - was a very interesting read, if my mind does not fail. Before becoming pope, Gerbert lived a number of years in Spain, and was able to contact the muslims scientists living there - Spain was unusual during that time for the (relatively) peaceful coexistence of jews, muslims and christians in its territory. A good book dealing with a period of time - the millenium - we do not know much about - western civilization was at its low point around that time.