The Second Sleep
1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts--coins, fragments of glass, human bones--which the old ...more
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I think Harris must have been having a bad year when he wrote Fear Factor. I felt it read like a film pitch.
Conclave is worth a go (not on your list). I read it at New Year and had the unusual experience of calling to the family "will be with you soon, just want to find out who becomes Pope." My book club enjoyed it too.
Le Carre: I was completely bowled over by The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and read book after book, trying to capture the same experience. I never did - although his recent A Legacy of Spies was an interesting alternative view on what happened in Berlin and afterwards. (less)
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”We know that almost every person, including children, was issued with a device that enabled them to see and hear one ano ...more
This book is a very different animal from most Harris books I’ve read. It’s very atmospheric and rather constrained, with most of the story being told in narration. While written in the third person, we never leave Christopher Fairfax’s head to see elements beyond his perception, and this absolutely works. The style is vaguely cla ...more
More than thousand years had washed over England since those days a civilisation had fallen and another had been reborn, and life went on in Addicot St George as if nothing had happened.
The book starts with two important epigraphs.
The first from the historian Roger Ekirch’s now (I think) well known discovery/contention that biphasic sleep (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphasi...) was the norm in the pre-Industrial Revolution West.
The second is from Thoma ...more
By pure chance, I read The Second Sleep directly afte ...more
Robert Harris is o ...more
That’s what has has happened in The Second Sleep. The story begins in what appears to be a late medieval Wessex village, in 1468. Only it’s not our 1468. The Church, which is now all powerful, designated the year of the collapse as year 666, ...more
It’s 1468, and young priest Christopher Fairfax is hurrying to reach the village of Addicott St George before curfew. He has been sent by his bishop to officiate at the funeral of the village’s priest, Father Lacy, who has died in a fall from the local landmark known as the Devil’s Chair. But once installed at the rectory, Christopher discovers that Father Lacy had been a collector of antiquities, some of them prohibited by the Church, and he soon has reason to wonder if ...more
What you can say after reading this book is that whatever the era, the acquisition of knowledge is always the means to an end, be it gaining and consolidating power and controlling people by what you know and they don't, making thing ...more
It is this concept which makes this novel so invigorating; I've never come across a future dystopian world quite like it. The world of this novel feels so real and authentic because it so mirrors our past, in a way which is strikingly and scarily feasible.
The protagoni ...more
Fairfax becomes intrigued by the manner of Lacey’s death — and by the lady of the manor, the widowed Lady Durston. He learns t ...more
A post-apocalypse pastoral. This is the sub-genre in which this novel falls into. Or more precisely, sub-sub-genre, as post-apocalypse is a sub-genre itself of science (speculative) fiction. So what is a post-apocalypse pastoral? Basically, a book set in a timeline so far ahead in the future after the apocalypse that the apocalypse itself is half forgotten and the people's lifestyle is more or less similar to what was in the Medieval era.
This novel is set in rural "Medieval era type" England ro ...more
This one is different and I believe it is the author's first venture into this genre. However, I dont want t ...more
This book has a brilliant premise: post-apocalyptic England, post-science, and technology, we are thrust into a moody, medieval backwater tracing the steps of a deceased heretic priest. We are (again) in a world where Religion controls daily life and the minds of the people.
Different from McCarthy's The Road and Jim Crace's The Pesthouse (both excellent), Harris is exploring what people i ...more
It has been well documented th ...more
The plot focuses on a young cleric sent to conduct the funeral of a parish priest in a tiny rural backwater, his discovery that the dead man had been engaging in heretical enquiries into the past, and the impact of that discovery upon his und ...more