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4.85  ·  Rating details ·  13 ratings  ·  10 reviews
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Madrid, 1616. Fray Juan de la Cruz - renowned poet and mystic has been dead for twenty-five years.
Fray Martín de Sepúlveda, Dominican friar and former professor at the University of Salamanca is living in obscurity, fortunate to escape the attentions of the Inquisition after a scandal that cost him his job. Now, three years later, he is s
Paperback, First , 311 pages
Published June 29th 2018 by Turas Press (first published June 28th 2018)
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Mairead Hearne (
'I did not ask for this commission, I do not want it and yet, here I am. I still do not understand what has persuaded me or whether, having agreed to carry it out, I have committed an act of wisdom or folly.’ Fray Martín de Sepúlveda, Canticle

Canticle by Liz McSkeane is a story based on the life and turbulent times of one of the greatest of all Spanish writers, the 16th century poet and mystic, San Juan de la Cruz ( St. John of the Cross). Published by Turas Press in 2018, Canticle is desc
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel that is set in Spain in 1616 and looks back over the previous 50 years. Its historical context is accurately researched and we are drawn back in time. The reader learns about the age old conflict between the Christian Church as an institution with rules and procedures and the quest of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila to have a Christian Church where the spiritual journey of the individual is unfettered by regulations.
The central character, Fray / Friar Martin, whose j
I can't believe this is a debut novel. Holy shit! It was a stellar first novel! In parts, the writing and the feel of the novel actually reminded me a bit of Eco's The Name of the Rose.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating novel, a book to enjoy at many levels; historical fiction, institutional politics and manipulation, all held skilfully in place by an engaging detective-come-cleric main character. Set in Renaissance Spain, it’s an intriguing exploration of the life of the mystic poet, St John of the Cross. The still topical question of what ‘truth’ might mean within the hierarchies and rules of a powerful Church institutional setting, is the thread which carries you through a riveting read ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like historical fiction, novels of ideas with a literary theme, this is a really great read. I didn't know anything about the work of John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic poet of the 17th century, and this novel explains how his thinking and his poetry caused a rift in the Carmelite order. It's very well written but easy to read, packed with carefully researched details and I loved the unexpected twist at the end.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in medieval Italy, Canticle is an absorbing story that follows the main character on a journey to uncover the secrets of the enigmatic mystic, Saint John of the Cross. I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel from Liz McSkeane and read it in a couple of sittings. A good mystery, a satisfactory conclusion and a lot of interesting information about a fascinating historical period. Great!
Eamonn Lynskey
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating read. Murky pasts, Catholic Church politics and dubious clerics... I love it!
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fascinating read. Not only does the writer exquisitely recreate this unsettled and unsettling time in history but she reminds us that corruption and the abuse of power are universal and eternal human concerns. Her characters are likeable and believable, her attention to detail is unfaltering and above all the reader can s engrossed in the intrigue of the investigation and in Fray Martin's personal struggles from beginning to end. An amazing first novel.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dealing with an investigation into the life of the poet and mystic Fray Juan de la Cruz 'Canticle' takes us on a journey that is both unsettling and mysterious. The central character, Fray Martin De Sepulveda is set to investigate the life and works of the mystic and we soon learn that this investigation is fraught with shady deals and risks, which slowly reveal themselves as the investigation progresses.It a totally intriguing novel.
The life of Fray Juan de la Cruz is revealed through a series
Patricia Richardson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From cover to cover Canticle enthrals as the reader is lead back to Renaissance Spain to witness an investigation into the life of Carmelite Friar, Saint John of the Cross. Of historic interest but Canticle is also a story about kindness and human tenderness in the face of harsh realities of that time. An engrossing very good read.
Patricia Richardson
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Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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I was born in Glasgow and I've lived in Dublin since 1981. I have been writing short stories and poetry for many years, and had my first novel published recently.

In 1999, I was overall winner of the Sunday Tribune / Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award for her poetry. I've had short stories and poems published in Ireland and the UK and I have three collections of poetry: “In Flight” (Lapwi

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