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The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
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May 21, 2012

really liked it

I just finished The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman, having spent most of the weekend reading. It's a thick book--432 pages--and tells the story of Nora, a high school girl who has an impressive knowledge of Latin. When she lands a job working for a college professor translating the 400-year-old letters of a poet named Elizabeth Weston, she predicts that her work will be nothing more than another boring addition to her college applications.

But the letters of Elizabeth Weston are anything but boring. Then Nora uncovers something incredible during her translations that could be the answer to a centuries-old mystery called the Lumen Dei. She begins to learn all about sixteenth-century Prague and how Elizabeth Weston may have discovered the ultimate knowledge of the world through alchemy. But her discovery comes at a steep price as she finds herself, and her friends, in grave danger.

This story has been compared to the Da Vinci Code, and I can see the connection. Nora not only uncovers secret societies willing to do anything to achieve their goals, as well as danger at every turn on her quest for knowledge, but she also has to figure out who she can really trust, especially as those around her become victims. All this happens against the backdrop of Nora coming to terms with the tragic loss of her brother and how his absence has changed the dynamic of her family forever. The story does have a little bit of a slow start, so be warned that the action takes a while to get going, but there are lots of plot twists and turns to keep you wondering if Nora will solve the mystery in time to prevent disaster.
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