The Bible of Clay.
I actually read this one *before* Bluebeard, but Kat’s mention of Vonnegut made that one the natural next post. I feel all out of order, but I’m sure that I’m the only one who actually cares about the chronology here.
I read this book after enjoying Navarro’s first novel – The Brotherhood of the Shroud – immensely. I’m quite glad that I happened upon her work, and I’m anxiously hoping that she writes another novel (or five…) because these have both been absolutely amazing. I may have actually enjoyed The Bible of Clay more, though it’s hard to say.
Again, this book eschews the more predictable thriller elements. The various stories being told go from the story of Abraham, to Nazi Germany, to present-day Iraq. Navarro weaves these disparate threads together seamlessly. Like The Brotherhood of the Shroud, the story does not have a predictable “and justice was served and they all lived happily ever after” ending. Although this one comes to a more definite conclusion than her previous novel, the conclusion is not one that your typical thriller-reader would be set-up to expect. The “good guy” does not win.
This is also because in this story, there is no “good guy.” There is not a wholly sympathetic character in the whole book, other than Abraham and his scribe, who are both of course long dead by the time the main story is taking place. While some could be considered more evil than others, the motives behind each decision are dark at best. By the end, it’s not exactly clear what a “good” ending would really be. Each faction isn’t entirely right, nor are they entirely wrong. I think this avoidance of black and white morality is what I enjoy most about Navarro’s work.
It would be impossible to write more without spoiling the plot, so I’ll just once again point out that it’s absolutely brilliant and leave it at that.
(Funny: As I wrote that sentence, the internet crashed on me and only now, a day and a half later, have I been able to y’know, POST this.)