Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie

Reviewed from ARC received at ALA Annual.  To be published September 2014.

I'm a sucker for historical fiction (history minor here) and so I was happy to see that his ARC was included in the gift bag from HarperCollins.  Sure, I know that Gutenberg was a big deal because of his Bible, but that's about all I knew about the man, so I was anxious to see what kind of information this author had dug up about the time period.

Peter Schoeffer was a scribe who loved his job, but his adopted father, Fust, apprenticed him to Gutenberg to serve as a spy.  Fust was the financial backer for the printing press, and he was concerned that the crazy German might be wasting his money.  Peter grows to love his job and to believe that they are doing God's will on Earth, even though others consider the straight font of the new Bible to be blasphemy and the Devil's work.

I loved the first quarter of the book, but then it really bogged down for me.  I wanted the book to be printed so I could find out the reaction of the public.  I did find the descriptions of the corruption of the Church fascinating, since I knew all that led to Luther and the Reformation in a few more years.  So many crooked priests and cardinals back then! I skimmed the last quarter because I wanted to find out how everything ended, but this isn't a book I'll recommend to people. Too literary and flourishy in places, and subtle dialogue that makes it difficult to catch the action in other places.

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