The Name of The RoseThey lied to you. The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came.

In this medieval, historical/political detective story, set in 1327, novice monk Adso is chosen to accompany Brother William of Baskerville on a mission to an unknown abbey in the north of Italy. Once there, the abbot asks famously astute William to investigate an unsettling event – the recent death in unexplained circumstances of a young monk of the abbey.

As William and Adso become drawn deeper into the affairs of the abbey, and events which claim the lives of other monks and which seem to be centred on the mysterious, secret, labyrinthine library, they are also bound to attend to a different, political duty relating to a dispute between Emperor Louis and Pope John. One of them seems to be an allegory of the other, although it is up to you which way round it goes.

I found this novel at times absorbing, and certainly interesting, but also at times the heavy-going style just plain wore me down a bit. Frequent passages in untranslated Latin, detailed descriptions of church doors, and lengthy sermons on sin and damnation really aren’t my bag, on the whole. However, on balance I think it was worth ploughing through: it did have some thought-provoking ideas here and there; and is quite a good detective story too, if you like that sort of thing. But this is definitely not a quick, light read!

Here’s an Amazon link.
I borrowed a copy from the library.