Kathryn Bashaar's Reviews > The Dream of Scipio

The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears
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's review
Nov 28, 08

Read in November, 2008

This book has an interesting premise. Three different characters who live in Provence at three different points in history, are faced with the same moral dilemna: in times of chaos and uncertainty, how much should a good man compromise with evil, in the attempt to protect something or someone that he values? Manlius Hippomanes lives at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, and has to decide how much he will compromise with the barbarians and the rising Christian church, to protect the classic civilization that he cherishes. He writes a philosophical treatise called The Dream of Scipio which the later characters reference in their own dilemnas. Olivier de Noyen is a poet and a servant of a powerful cardinal, at the time of the plague in the 14th century. His poetry is read 500 years later by Julien Barneuve, a scholar living at the time of the Nazi occupation of France. Each of them loves an unconventional woman and tries to protect her. Each of them is faced with the choice of whether or not to betray a friend and/or mentor. Persecution of the Jews figures into each of their dilemnas. The moral choices are serious and interesting, and the book did hold my interest. I definitely wanted to keep reading and see how it ended. But, I thought the execution was weak in a lot of ways. There was a TON of exposition in place of scenes that would have made the characters more real and appealling. Also, the transitions between the 3 stories were often awkward and confusing, and that made it hard to keep track of the 3 separate stories.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by R. J. (new)

R. J. Hi Kathy,m
'Dream of Scipio' has an interesting premise.
I will add it to my 'to read list.'
R. J.

message 2: by R. J. (new)

R. J. Hi Kathy,
"Dream of Scipio' has an interesting premise.
You choose the most interesting books to read.
I think I will lput this on 'my to read list.'
Hopefully your Thanksgiving was just as nice as mine.

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