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The Nameless Day (The Crucible #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,102 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The Black Plague. The Pestilence. Disease and death haunt every town and village across 14th century Europe and none are immune from its evil. Some see the devastation of their world as a sign from God for Man's wickedness.

But Brother Thomas Neville sees this swath of death as something much more. Neville is a man beset by demons. Or is it angels? He has had a visitation f
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published 2000)
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Karen Brooks
I first read this book when it was published in 2000 and, while I’d forgotten a great deal about it, I did recall that I really enjoyed it. Re-reading it again, however, made me appreciate not only Douglass’ story-telling style, which grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go, but also her skill for weaving actual history into her fictive works. The Nameless Day and, I suspect, the entire Crucible series, illustrates her mastery at this.

The Nameless Day centres on a former soldier and arist
Ranting Dragon

The Nameless Day is the first volume in Sara Douglass’s trilogy, The Crucible. While the author lists The Crucible as her favourite of all her series, many readers had mixed feelings about The Nameless Day upon its initial publication. Most of their concerns regarded the vastly different feel of this novel when compared to her previous works (such as the popular Axis Trilogy), and the unconventional choice of protagonist. Nevertheless, in my opinion, havin
If you have any interest in medieval history this will definitely interest you. Douglass created a great alternate, inserting the character of Tom Neville, who is a down-and-out Englishman who has sent himself to Italy to be a monk. Neville stumbles upon some very interesting things, which lead him north into Austria and then west through France where he comes upon Joan of Arc and the English doing battle with the French. He then winds up back in England trying to readjust back to his old life a ...more
So far, I feel only sympathy for the "evil spawn". This book is about the Middle Ages, and features at first an old (70ish), unlikable friar. It then shifts to a young (35 or so), unlikable friar. In both cases the friars are overly pious, pontificating, misogynist twits. But the story is interesting if you can get past the character faults, and other than the excessive wordiness, is well planned.

The only thing I didn't like is it never really ended. It stopped. No resolution, no solution, no ab
Generally I like Sara Douglass books but this was a bit less initially motivating that the Starman (and related) series. Her general plots are often quite dark and this is no exception. I was really into it by the end of the story. Of course, however, it's an older book and the book stores don't carry it and my library has to get it from Timbuktu so it takes forever. Hopefully I'll get the next one before I forget all the details. I could just order it but then I'll have to buy the first just so ...more
2.5 stars

the archangel michael informs a novice friar - formerly, a worldly noble, now doing penance for guilt over destroying the love of his life - that he has been chosen to wage war on the demons overrunning the earth. said friar must journey across 1300s europe in search of a chest belonging to his demon-fighting predecessor, which contains the means to send evil back to hell.

it's a good set-up, in theory, that should offer plenty of spiritual (and spirited!) battles, juicy details over tha
This was a jump into a subject that I have not thought about in a long time - History of the Church and mortal men/womyn set in the times of England and France around the time of Joan of Arc, King Charles and King Richard.I guess the fact that I went to Catholic school, I avoid books about religion, angels and the whole save-your-soul stuff. I like this author however, and when I found the three books in the series at the library, I had to read them. I had just finished The Serpent Bride by Doug ...more
I truly wish I could say I liked this book but I didn't. I read it because a friend highly recommended it to me. I was annoyed with it 3 chapters in but pushed through to the end.

The main character, Brother Thomas, is totally unlikable. Self-righteous, a prick, and stupid. I could not care for his well-being and was annoyed that there was no growth to his character by the end of the book. he stayed exactly the same, self-righteous and a snob. This character made the book a slog to read.

I did li
This book was awesome and I loved it. Having a degree in Theology and having had to sit through many church History classes it is refreshing how accurate the Author is. This is another book however , that , over the years I have passed over for "something better" . But at least I did get back to it ....eventually. I have read The Wayfarer Series by Mrs Douglass so was familiar with her writing style and love her descriptive talents......I have a date with a read along with a friend or I would be ...more
The Nameless Day is the first volume in Sara Douglass’s trilogy, The Crucible, and what a trilogy it is. Although it may not appeal to all readers, The Crucible is probably the best historical fantasy series I have read in a long time, and unlike other series in this genre you don’t have to plough through double digit numbers of novels to get to the end. However, if you or a member of your family is fainthearted or devoutly Catholic this may not be the book for you considering the shenanigans th ...more
A history lesson and a good tale all in one book. It was interesting to meet the Neville, Rivers, and Beaufort families from another's perspective and research (other than Phillipa Gregory).

I especially liked her characterization of Joan (Jeanette) of Arc and the Catholic Church during that time. Douglass explores that inner working more closely than most. Which later makes Thomas departure for his oath a better sell.

However, I feel like a lot of story was diminished and awkward due to Douglas
Also published under The Ranting Dragon

The Nameless Day is the first volume in Sara Douglass’s trilogy, The Crucible. While the author lists The Crucible as her favourite of all her series, many readers had mixed feelings about The Nameless Day upon its initial publication. Most of their concerns regarded the vastly different feel of this novel when compared to her previous works (such as the popular Axis Trilogy), and the unconventional choice of protagonist. Nevertheless, in my opinion, having
Newer version on The Ranting Dragon:

‘The Nameless Day’ is the first volume in Sara Douglass’s three-part series, The Crucible. While the author lists ‘The Crucible’ as her favourite of all her series, many readers had mixed feelings about ‘The Nameless Day’ upon its initial publication. Most of their concerns regarded the vastly different feel of this novel, when compared to her previous works (such as the popular A
I feel the need to review this book, not because it blew my mind or anything, but it was controversial in my own mind. I've been flying through books this year at the pace of about 1 per week, and this book brought that pace to a near halt. I wanted to read it and finish it, but it was not a page-turner.

First of all, the religiousness of the book permeates the entire story, which is by design, obviously, but it got repetitive and bulky for me.

Second, as I got closer to the end of the book, I re
lynne naranek
In the author's note, Sara Douglass states that the 14th century was one of shifts in weather, politics, health and such in Europe, such that the very people who emerged from that 100 years were very different, spiritually. In fact, they had made an about face, going from a focus on the soul's salvation to technology, conquest.... and this series is an attempt to explain that shift.

This book sets the stage, where we have a an ex-nobleman turned Dominican Friar being given the task of ridding hte
Adi Greif
This book was excellent at depicting history. The protagonist is unusually unlikeable on purpose, which is interesting. The plot is a bit slow and even by the end of the first book the religious world she is painting is unclear. My main problem is that there is no uncertainty about the outcome - it was clearly stated what the end of the trilogy would be both in the beginning of the series and on the blurb on the back of the book. I would be more interested if there was more tensions.
This was an interesting book, but not one I could say I "Liked" all that well. It is a very interesting concept of alternate history in a version of the dark ages where angels and demons really exist, and take an active (if disguised) role in the political machinations of church and state. However, identifying who is an angel, and who is a demon, and even DEFINING what either of those are, is not possible, and poses quite a lot of intrigue. But it reads like a great deal of set up for the plot t ...more
Another book for me that started off slowly but improved steadily. It is difficult to like the characters, but the setting is excellent and I am curious as to what will happen in the next book. Worth persisting with!
Norman Howe
Ill news"," Thomas Neville. The final battle between Good and Evil is at hand"," and your actions willl determine the outcome.Really bad news: Define "Good." Define "Evil"
I enjoyed Douglass' Threshold a few years ago and looked forward to trying some of her series. This is the first book in the series "The Crucible," which takes place in the 14th century in the years following The Black Plague, an interesting and turbulent period in Europe. Thomas, a Dominican friar, is visited by St. Michael, who tells him that demons abound in Europe and that it is his life's task to stop them. Although I didn't love it, I'll definitely finish the series. Another wonderful book ...more
Julie Golob
I have enjoyed other books and series by Sara Douglass but this one isn't my favorite. The main character is not very likable and as a reader I feel he is the only one that I felt I got to know well which is rather unfortunate. The concept is pretty cool, but the book is lacking description, character development and gets bogged down at times. I like that the author is trying to keep the reader engaged with the element of mystery, but I felt I needed a little bit more.

I plan on reading the other
This was a disappointing read. After reading Sara Douglass' Wayfarer REdemption and Darkglass Mountain series, I found this book to be a bit heavy going. I would have preferred to give it 2 1/2 stars. The main character, Thomas, is a Dominican monk during the time shortly after the plague wiped out half of the population of Europe. He is a narrow-minded misogynist, probably typical of monks of that era, so not a character I could admire. The heavy emphasis on religion in the book was also overwh ...more
Julia Phillips
The first in a trilogy that is wildly imaginative and yet firmly rooted in its historical context. Imagine the superstitious Europe of the 14th century, ruled by powerful houses and religious dogma, and then imagine that some of those powerful families are the offspring of fallen angels - the nephelim.

The rich tapestry that Ms Douglass weaves in this and the following two volumes is impressive in its imagination and scope. As a past lecturer in history her grasp of the context is sound and she u
Marshall Pickens
The premise of the story was great and I was very excited to read it, however... The driving force behind the main character and the angels around him irritated the crud out of me. How they talked about sin and guilt was just irritating, and I believe in sin and that people should feel guilty for doing the wrong thing. At one point the angels called a man and woman good because they took no pleasure from having sex when they were married, and anyone, even those who were married, who took pleasur ...more
I don't know much of the history of the time these books are set, but they seem an interesting mix of historical fact and fiction.
Sue Mack
You hated the characters for there were no redeeming qualities. The one you were supposed to root for you didn't
This is a curious book, with an interesting take on the Black Plague/Death. Here the main character is fighting between good and evil, the Church or the Nobility, and many other dichotomies develop. What makes the book so good, I think, is that the reader doesn't seem to know which way the character will chose or if good is really good and evil is really bad. With the history in the background one can realize that the situation in Europe during this period was just as tumultuous. There are two m ...more
Debby Zigenis-Lowery
This book was fascinating. It is such an intricate mix of history and fantasy that the boundaries between the two are seamless. I only had one qualm about giving it five stars, and that was the level of violence occasionally depicted in the story. However, the violence did not feel gratuitous, but rather one of the disturbing aspects of the time depicted and the fantasy created.
I highly recommend this for lovers of fantasy and history (particularly the 14th century).
For you English majors, Geof
So here's a bit of alternative historical fiction. Takes place during the time of Joan of Arc, but the book's focus isn't on her. Instead it focus's on a friar who's also recieving visions. I couldn't really get into this book, too much talk of politics and church issues. If I had a better grasp of the history of that time, perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more. I do feel the need to finish reading the series though, so I can find out which path is ultimately chosen.
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Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia. She attended Annesley College, in Wayville, a suburb of Adelaide. She studied for her BA while working as a Registered Nurse, and later completed her PhD in early modern English History. She became a lecturer in medieval history at La Trobe University, Bendigo. While there she completed her first novel, BattleAxe, which launched her as a popular fantas ...more
More about Sara Douglass...

Other Books in the Series

The Crucible (3 books)
  • The Wounded Hawk (The Crucible, #2)
  • The Crippled Angel (The Crucible, #3)
The Wayfarer Redemption (Wayfarer Redemption, #1) Enchanter (Wayfarer Redemption, #2) Starman (Wayfarer Redemption, #3) Sinner (Wayfarer Redemption, #4) Pilgrim (Wayfarer Redemption, #5)

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