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Paperback The World, the Flesh and the Devil Book

ISBN: 0747267154

ISBN13: 9780747267157

The World, the Flesh and the Devil

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Set in the stormy Scottish highlands, here is a blockbuster novel in the tradition of The Name of the Rose and The Thornbirds. Political intrigue and religious rivalries are interwoven with a tender...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

Feuds, schemes, rebellion, family ties, and love in 15th Century Scotland

This novel is set in Scotland and is centered around the true life feud between Bishop Gavin Cameron, chancellor to King James as well as his closest friend, and Archdeacon Columba Crozier. For various reason's Columba has been deprived of his benefices and holds Gavin responsible. Columba's entire family, including his step-neice, Ninianne, is drawn into this feud. Columba's son, Adam, is particularly zealous in his fathers defense and ends up stirring up the Highlanders against the King and Bishop Cameron. Meanwhile, Ninanne and Gavin are strongly attracted to each other but their divided loyalties (not to mention Gavin's priestly vows) come between them. Ninanne finds herself caught up in the intrigues of her family and is torn between her deep love for both Gavin and Columba. This novel gives a fascinating look inside Papal politics and all the intrigue and scheming that goes on within the Catholic Church and King James's court. The characters are well drawn and complex. We see Ninianne grow from a flighty 17 yr old newlywed to a mature woman who sees more than her share of heartache and loss. The relationship between Columba and his children is very touching and real. I absolutely loved the title and, IMO, "the world" represents Gavin's closeness and preference for dealing with the earthly matters of his friend the King. "The Flesh" represents temptation in the form of his attraction to and ultimately deep love for Ninianne. "The Devil" manifests in Gavin's doubts in the churches teachings and his inner struggles with belief in free will vs. predestination. I have a thing for books with great titles and this was one of them! Any lover of historical fiction enjoy all the great history here. The romantic aspect is, IMO, secondary to the depiction of the political intrigues and the strain between Church and State. It was missing that "something" that would make me give it 5 stars but all in all it was not bad!

Skillfully written romance

Reay Tannahill is a writer of significant talent. "WFD" is set in 15th century Scotland at the beginning of the Renaissance, and the action is oriented around the ecclesiastical politics of the period. This is done well, but seems somewhat lacking in vigor as a plotline, given the tumultuous events of the period. The political environment and physical landscape of Scotland are ably described, and sketches are original and compelling. Dialogue is often tinged with a contrived Scottish pronunciation, though not excessively, and for the most part seems true to the characters. Character, and its development, is the strong point of Tannahill's book. The awakening and growth of a young woman's intellect is subtle, and her growing love for a man is shown in deft and sensitive prose. Eventually, the emotion is reciprocated, and the masculine response seemed realistic: both forceful and restrained, yet equivocal at intervals. My one major criticism is that the author's unusual skill and knowledge of the period seems to be utilized ineffectively by a rather conventional storyline. The era is one of Europe's most eventful: Joan of Arc first defeats and then is captured by the English in France, the Papacy has returned to Rome after the Schism, then flees a plot by Roman nobility, and now faces formidable opposition to its power by secular governments, and yet we are following the vicissitudes of a very briefly described rebellion by marginal Highland clans against the king of Scots. In all, I did enjoy the book, but I felt let down by a superficial plot that seemed unattached to important events.
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