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Q Hardcover – May 3 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 3 2004
CDN$ 37.00 CDN$ 4.78

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 3 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151010633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151010639
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #596,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Something of a publishing sensation elsewhere in Europe, Q is a convoluted historical thriller by a consortium of young pseudonymous authors, who, it has to be said, are a little too in love with their own cleverness. Q is the working name of a papal spy trying to keep a lid on the Reformation, particularly on the Anabaptist radicalism which is its form most dangerous to the social order, and for decades he watches, and occasionally gets in close and betrays. The man sometimes known as Gert is his opposite--all the more so because he hardly knows of Q's existence--the idealist who is caught up in the same events: Luther's sermons, the rise and fall of Thomas Muntzer, the disastrous People's Republic of Munster.

Parallels are being struck all over the place with radicalism in the 20th century--part of what makes Gert a memorable voice is a combination of zeal, pragmatism and survival instinct that keeps him one step ahead of the Inquisitors for 30 years and enables him to, for example, do serious damage to the Holy Roman Emperor's favourite bankers. In the end, Gert and Q are left with more in common than the past they share--the rules are changing and the board is being cleared, and there is time for one last crucial intervention... This is ingeniously plotted, and full of vividly realised scenes of 16th century life; if it has a fault, it is that we live through every day of three tumultuous decades, every sermon and theological treatise, in exhausting detail. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Rich religious history is turned into bloated, tedious fiction in this Reformation-age epic produced by four anonymous writers lurking behind a pseudonym. In 1517, Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral. In 1525, a one-time theological student, a radical Anabaptist who goes under a number of names over the course of the narrative, but who is initially called Gustav Metzger, pulls off the first of a number of hairbreadth escapes from heretic hunters keen to spill the blood of any would-be supporter of Luther. For the next 30 years, even as Protestantism slowly makes inroads across Europe, Metzger is tracked by a papal spy who, traveling incognito under the eponymous moniker Q, keeps his boss apprised while he and his compatriots attempt to crush the movement on behalf of the Vatican before the schism widens. Needless to say, they fail. Translator Whiteside has done the best he could with the material: stripped-down chapters breathlessly composed of short, snappy paragraphs ("The girl smiles. She's extremely beautiful") alternate with epistolary passages given a faux-historical gloss. Speech anachronisms abound throughout, especially when events are related by Metzger and company (" 'What the fuck did you say? What? So you're not dead, but you scare me anyway, pal, you scare me'"), and most of the characters sound so alike that not only do they remain lifeless on the page, they are often indistinguishable from one another. A good amount of historical research is lumped throughout, but the period stylings are wooden and the story never gains enough momentum to carry readers along.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The turbulent years of the early Reformation are the focus of this novel of ideas written by four young people who call themselves, jointly, "Luther Blissett." Thomas Muntzer, a leader of the Anabaptists, believes that Martin Luther has become too close to the prince bishops, from whom he accepts protection, to be an effective leader. Gustav Metzger, the speaker, is one of Muntzer's followers, accompanying him during the trauma of the Peasants' Revolt (1524 - 26), which Luther opposes, and serving as an on-the-scene observer. When the revolt fails, villages are leveled, the rebels are put to the sword, and many of the leaders of the revolt are arrested, tortured, and then beheaded.
The revolt fails, in part, because of a spy named Qoelet (Q), whose diaries and letters to Cardinal Gianpietro Carafa, reveal his duplicitous actions. As the Anabaptist speaker escapes from one bloody crisis after another, changing his name whenever he changes locations, Q tries to track him down and to counteract the increasingly dangerous effects of Protestantism. Each of the speaker's failures is related to Q's countermoves, as the speaker travels throughout Germany to Switzerland and the Low Countries, following the spread of ideas. Twenty-five years after surviving the Peasants' Revolt and vicious reprisals against the Reformation everywhere he travels, the speaker, now known as Tiziano Rinato (Titian), arrives in Venice with the financing he needs to distribute "heretical" pamphlets. He and Q finally meet for a showdown.
The authors' casual, slangy style, filled with profanities, conveys the frustration and trauma of these four-hundred-year old events in a language with which the contemporary reader can easily identify.
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Format: Hardcover
A historical thriller based on the aftermath of Martin Luther's nailing his ninety-five theses to the door of Whittenburg Cathedral. This was a time where Christian religion and political power were fighting to see who would rule the world. It was a time when the Roman Catholic church ruled most of what is now Europe, allowing the kings to hold power only at their discression. It was a time when scientific discovery had best not conflict with the rulings of the church - remember Galileo.
Set in this time, this 750 page novel tells the story of our hero, an Anabaptist who travels under many names, and his enemy, Q, a paper informer and heretic hunter. Part thriller, part adventure story, this European best seller was written by four young writers using the name Luther Blisset
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Format: Paperback
Many today indentify Martin Luther, Hulderich Zwingli, and John Calvin with the Reformation. Blisset uses a Roman Cahtolic spy, Q, to show the various strands of faith still making up churches claiming the Reformation. He desn't mention Zwingli, a major oversight. But, one spy could only deal with so many reformers in a lifetime.
Blisset also shows the difficult times of the Reformation. He does well to show hte bloody mess the ears olf religion really were and can still be. All in all, a wonderful ficional tour into the real Reformation. You'd also do well to read a history of the Reformation afterward.
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