7 Oct 2010


FALSE AMBASSADOR by Christopher Harris.

False Ambassador is a circular journey through a world just emerging from the Middle Ages, forced by war and discovery into new ways of living and thinking.

The Renaissance. The dawn of modern civilisation? Or the last spasm of medieval brutality? Thomas Deerham, soldier and would-be scholar, has deserted from the English army in France. What should he aim for: wealth or wisdom? Pleasure or redemption? who can help him? Not the deserters and brigands that swarm over France. Barely human, they offer nothing but death and destruction.

In his search for a purpose, Thomas encounters fools and philosophers, friars and merchants, humanists and heretics. He is consoled by the Secrets of love, discovered in an old book, but his curiosity leads him to commit a terrible crime. Released from prison, he must begin a second quest: to save his soul. He goes to the East, where two faiths are fighting for the greatest city in the world. He endures defeat and slavery, but a surprising encounter in Rome seems to offer the hope of redemption.
..... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (from the prologue): As we neared Venice, Brother Lodovico had a chest brought up from the hold.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: "As the lizard climbs," Plethon said, "it passes from one brick to another, gradually ascending the wall. That is the image of a man's soul."

Despite some very graphic and gory battle scenes and some scenes of a overtly sexual nature I found this novel a fascinating read. Very philosophical at times, we follow the adventure of Thomas, a young man destined for war .... or is he?

Full of a huge cast of wonderful characters, we get to meet all manner of humanity from Thomas himself whose journey begins with the meeting of a chaplain who despite being quite a roguish individual installs in Thomas a life-long thirst for knowledge through to Plethon, the oldest, wisest man in Christendom who bestows to Thomas a book.

Altogether a wonderful debut novel, my only real criticism being the lack of female characters, I highly recommend it as a good read though have to warn that it may prove rather difficult going for the first 50 or so pages due to the various acts of war that are portrayed.

False Ambassador was ex-library stock bought at a sale. No author information was available online.


Vivienne said...

I am a little uncertain about books based in the Middle Ages. It is not an era that I know much about. I wonder whether I would enjoy this or not.

SG said...

Thanks for the nice review. Here is what I found online:


Melissa Gill said...

Man that sound so good. I love historical fiction, espcially with a lot of blood and sex. It's going on my list.

Kelly said...

Now this sounds like my kind of book!!

Thanks for the review... I'll have to see if I can track it down.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

It sounded interesting! Thanks for the review. :)

Jenners said...

Sounds like a good find. And it doesn't sound like a book that would feature many women actually,.

Suko said...

This sounds rather intriguing. Thomas' life-long thirst for knowledge sounds like something I'd like to read more about. Thanks for a terrific review, Petty.

brandileigh2003 said...

By the way-- I gave you an award!


Don't feel any pressure to post or pass on unless you want to.

Marieke said...

Ooh, this sounds like a great read! Thanks for this, will check it out! :)buter

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

I love historical fiction but reading about war is hard for me. I'm glad you enjoyed this one though!