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The Hermetica of Elysium (The Elysium Texts #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
1494 Barcelona. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance. Words are Nadira’s life. She is pursued as passionately for her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew, which makes her valuable to m ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 12th 2011 by Knox Robinson Publishing (first published January 1st 2011)
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Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
(3.5 stars) The year is 1494. Nadira is a Moorish slave whose late mother taught her to read and write in the hopes of bettering her lot. She lives in Barcelona and keeps the books for her master, Sofir, a recent convert from Judaism to Catholicism. Due to the peculiarities of Nadira’s background, she can read and write in a number of languages. Her humdrum existence comes to an abrupt end when an English gentleman, Lord Montrose, takes her away from Sofir and on a dangerous journey. He seeks a ...more
Sarah Castillo
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Like it says on the tin, The Hermetica of Elysium (Elysium Texts Series) is set in 1494 Barcelona. A very familiar Barcelona for history buffs, but fear not. The fantasy part of the historical fantasy shows up, and man does it make a hell of an entrance. (When you read the book you'll get that pun.)

I fell in love with our heroine, Nadira, almost immediately. She is a Moor, daughter to a princess-turned-slave, and thus something of a slave herself. Despite this, she has been well educated by her
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Hermetica of Elysium is a historical fantasy, a combination of two of my favourite genres, with a bit of a romantic slant to it as well. It's the first book of a series, though I couldn't find out how many books there will be, and has more historical elements than fantasy. The true fantasy only manifests in the latter half of the book. At the same time, this is not a very detailed historical novel. In the sense that its history is more of a backdrop than an active "participant" in the novel ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction/fantasy lovers
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

A historical fantasy set in 1494 Barcelona during the Spanish inquisition. It’s an exciting novel that contains a strong intelligent heroine and a magical book that has esoteric knowledge which everyone is literally dying to possess.

About: Nadira, is a tiny young woman who barely looks her age. Although in her 20’s she appears 17. Of Muslim descent (and called Moorish during this time period), she arrives in Spain as a small child. Abducted from her de
April Wright
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks and I thought it was fabulous! I typically read paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy novels -anything to help me turn off my brain and relax, so I was a bit leery of this when I found out it was “historical.”

This book opens with the main character, a slave named Nadira interacting with another slave in the home of her master. Nadira is the daughter of an emir who was deposed. Her mother was a woman of means before the
Lydia Presley
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Original review posted here

I. loved. this. book.

Gutsy heroine? Check. Intelligence? Check. Action and Adventure? Check. A touch of romance? Check. Fantastic setting? Check.

Seriously – everything needed to make a very interesting, historical novel that is very, very, very difficult to put down.

Nadira is a special creature. Yes, she’s bartered about the men in her life, but it isn’t for her body – oh no, it’s for her mind. You see, she speaks quite a few languages, and has been called upon to help
...My appreciation for the way Banks imparts information is not enough to make The Hermetica of Elysium more than mildly entertaining however. I couldn't really connect with the main character and her rather unlikely backstory. add to that the way she is dragged though the story by various other characters and the vague historical context of the novel and you end up with a book that is competently written but not much more than that. Maybe other people will get more out of it but for me it was a ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fifteenth century Europe saw the beginning of the Inquisition, the rise of the Borgias (Rodrigo Borgia or Pope Alexander IX, father to the infamous Lucrezia), and the fictional quest into the hidden meaning of a very special book, a Hermetica. Nadira, a servant girl in Spain, is the key to this book in The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks, the first in The Elysium Texts series.

Nadira wasn't born into servitude, but she has spent the majority of her life as a servant/slave. Her mother was s
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
1494 Barcelona

As Torquemada lights the fires of religious fervor throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering the Renaissance.

Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until a dying scholar is brought to the merchant’s stable, beaten by mercenaries who are on the hunt for The Herm
Alaiel Kreuz
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing read this was. I have to be honest, I began reading this book a while ago and stopped after a few pages because I had a few problems and then, instead of picking it up again, I went to read something else and never came back for it.
Major. Mistake. Ever. If you begin make sure to read a few chapters and I promise you won't stop. I still can't believe I didn't finish it before because it's AMAZING.

Everything begins in Bercelona, Spain. The year is 1494 when Nadira's master calls fo
Tahlia Newland
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
When the publisher approached me with this book and asked if I’d review it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not, because historical romance is a genre that doesn’t generally interest me. However, the fantasy element and the theme of the power of words and philosophy drew me in and I discovered a rich and surprising read that far surpasses what this books genre designation would have you expect.

We meet the central character, Nadira in 1494 in Barcelona, where she is a servant to a wealthy spice m
Allison Touchstone
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing

The Hermetica of Elysium takes a fresh direction on the Inquisition, history, and historical romance. Protagonist Nadira is immediately caught up in a world she didn’t know existed – alchemy and magic; mystery and intrigue; and least expected she finds her freedom.

An intelligent, educated woman in a society reminiscent of our Middle Ages, Nadira is a servant to a Jew who has “converted” to Christianity. Her simple life as a bookkeeper is turned upside down when the Black Friars brin
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
What I liked:

- The subject matter - it is about a hermetical book for heavens’ sake!!! A very old book from Egypt, written in several languages, most probably an ancient text, coveted by many alchemists! How not to adore such a premise? It reminded me of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, one of my all time favourites! In fact I suppose the idea of an edible book was taken straight from that novel! Still I didn’t mind – not at all!
- The narration was quick-paced and as lively as I like. The bo
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, although it did take me a few chapters to get into it. There were also a couple of continuity issues that had me flipping back and forth through the book trying to figure out what I'd missed. Neither really had any affect on the story. The first was that when Nadira first encountered Baron Montrose, the text reads that he had a large scar on his face. That scar is never mentioned again, but another soldier is repeatedly called, "the scarred man". I looked back at the original ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a delightful, if sometimes dark tale. It does take place in Spain during the Inquisition so there are going to be unhappy times. The heroine, Nadira is woman stranded in slavery as her mother was taken in a raid. Her mother "was a princess, her father an emir." I wanted to know more about her background - perhaps my questions will be answered in future books - this is the first in a series. But if you ask me wanting to know more is the best you can ask from a book.

Nadira is highly educated
Tina Petriella
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional Read in The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks

Annmarie Banks has done a wonderful job giving the backstory of Nadira and Lord Montrose. I found myself becoming more and more immersed in the story line page after page. In the beginning there is a lot of information involving Nadira and her master, it feels like it takes a little time to get moving but once Montrose comes and kidnaps her it becomes a little more exciting. The details involving the different way of life in 1409 was
When I first started The Hermetica of Elysium I was really enjoying it. It was a sort of historical mystery and it had a lot of fantasy elements that I found to be quite intriguing.

I liked Nadira, she was very intelligent and an interesting character. I have to say though that there was a bit of a jump in her character. One minute she was a certain way and the next she changed really dramatically and I hadn't really picked up on that change from the surroundings so I found it a little hard to fo
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction and/or Medieval Fantasy
I loved this book! Banks offers the reader such a variety of experiences including: the rich descriptions of 15th century Europe and its religious climate; wonderfully well-rounded and relatable characters; and a plot that is intriguing, entertaining, and full of tension. Once the plot really begins to unfold about half-way through the book it steamrolls right on through to the very end. There is action, there is love, there is adventure, and there is a series of characters that you want to know ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I fell head first into the world of THE HERMETICA OF ELYSIUM and did not come up for air. Barcelona in 1494 is a world tortured under the guise of religion. Nadira is an incredibly interesting character, with great courage and fortitude. I don't want to give any spoilers. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Lynne Marie
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! Annmarie Bank's writing style reminds me of Mary Stewart's impeccable style. While I rarely give out 5-star ratings, I wish there were half stars because I believe this is definitely a 41/2-star novel. I'm looking forward to reading more from Annmarie Bank.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel. I got sucked right into Nadira's story and didn't want to put it down. It is set during the Spanish Inquisition and the reign of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia). Nadira is a slave who manages the accounts and correspondence for her master, the spice merchant when the agents of the Inquisition bring a scholar to the home so she can translate for them. They are looking for the Hermetica of Elysium and in their question of the scholar, they mortally wound him. Days a ...more
Leslie (Working for the Mandroid)
Read the full review on Working for the Mandroid

The Hermetica of Elysium is about Nadira, a servant girl in 1494 Barcelona, who is incredibly educated and can read multiple languages. This makes her a hot commodity at a time when most people can’t write or read a single language. The story is set in a time period of religious persecution, where anything and anyone can be deemed heretical and killed accordingly. The fantastical piece of the book comes in the guise of the Hermetica of Elysium, an
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
From the moment I read the summary for this, I knew it was going to be an interesting read. I mean just the summary itself is completely intriguing. Still I was not sure exactly what I was expecting as I began reading this, and I am glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. From the historical and magical elements to the surprising romance, I found this to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Nadira is definitely an unusual girl for her time period. She is very literate, speaking and writing several languages.
Aimee Krenz
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Don't let the title of the book confuse or scare you off. `The Hermetica of Elysium' is the first book in the Elysium Texts Series, written by new author Annemarie Banks. For those who aren't familiar with the term `hermetica', it is a series of secret texts from various authors or teachers that contain and discuss ideas regarding philosophy, nature, and the divine, meant to enlighten those who read it.

As the daughter of a fallen princess who was sold into slavery to a wealthy merchant, Nadira h
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Nadira is a woman before her time. In late 1400s Spain, she knows bunches of languages and therefore becomes an incredible asset for a couple different groups of people (including the Pope) for her translating skills, which could unlock the key to understanding the Hermetica of Elysium, a book filled with alchemy and other valuable ideas and knowledge. Even though a woman in the late 1400s did not have much power of her own, Nadira uses what she does have (her language skills) in order to make h ...more
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.

The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks beautifully blends all the genres published by Knox Robinson Publishing: historical fiction, historical romance, and fantasy.

The Hermetica is the fascinating story of Nadira, the daughter of a once prominent emir who was sold into slavery with her mother. Slavery?!? Yes, Nadira's story takes place in the 15th century (1494 to be exact), and she has to cope with all the realities
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.
This is a book that I would have called Medieval Fiction, but once it got going I realised that it was as much a part of the Fantasy Genre as anything else.
I have to say, it was interesting from the first page. Without giving plot details away, our main character and the people she ends up with end up on a quest to find a something.
Actually, the story does not follow the standard pattern of most Fantasy novels that I read. The first
I flew through this book. But. I wanted it to be more. The time and place are new to me, and I was super into it, but a few things held me back from full-on love:

1. Nothing gets resolved in this book. It just ends, and you're supposed to jump straight to the next book, I guess. I am tempted, but ultimately am not enough in love to move book #2 up on my to-read list. I feel like if I read your very long book, you could at least give me something besides a preview of the next damn book at the end.
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is kind of like the friend* you make when you need to make a friend, so you just randomly choose whoever seems nice enough but still cool enough to further your social status.
The relationship starts off pretty well and you realize you chose wisely; not only is this new friend easy to be with but they also have a great story to tell. But over time change happens maybe it's you, maybe it's them and things get a little uncomfortable between you. You start to realize that they tend to favo
Sherry H
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a good piece of fiction, set in 1494 Spain, complete with a mysterious book, a strong and feisty multi-lingual damsel in distress, a bunch of corrupt clerics, and a handsome lord.

This book had my rapt attention from the very first pages; I thought it would be a 5-star read.

This took a "mystic" turn at some point, and all of the magical travels knocked off a star for me. I'm more interested in the "historical" than the "fiction", and this one leaned a bit heavily toward the latter.

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Annmarie Banks spent the first twenty years of her professional life as a bookseller specializing in out-of-print and antiquarian books. She currently resides in the state of Arizona.

Since then she has studied many books about the history of the quest for knowledge. Early Western scientists were alchemists and philosophers who were forced to learn about the secrets of Nature by hiding in locked r
More about Annmarie Banks...

Other Books in the Series

The Elysium Texts (2 books)
  • The Necromancer's Grimoire (The Elysium Texts, #2)

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