5.0 out of 5 stars This is more than just a �whodunnit�.
People who have never read Arturo Perez Reverte will be deceived when told "Seville communion" is a plain "whodunnit" thriller. Reverte's books are muchh more than that. What he usually does is imagine an unusual situation (the plot), and unusual characters, and these characters will relate to each other with the unusual situation as background. This is how he works, and...
Published on July 3 2003 by J R Zullo
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read
As one of Perez-Reverte's earlier novels, the characters are not quite as well fleshed out as they are in his later books. On it's own however, it is quite the entertaining read. The main character, Quart, comes across as a priest who doesn't think of himself as a priest so much as a 'soldier of the church' or a modern incarnation of a knight templar. As a result the...
Published on May 24 2004 by Craig Clotfelter
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2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible characterisation,
What a disappointment. Most of the main characters, aside from Priamo and the investigator, are entirely one dimensional and give you the sense of an author who filled out a character development worksheet (ok, this character wears silver bracelets, crochets a blanket for her long-gone trosseau, and has a spit curl) and then plugs in the appropriate details by formula over and over again. I finished the book and could list only two or three superficial details I knew about all three of the co-conspirators, the duchess, the banker, etc. The first few chapters were interesting but the promise quickly dissipated, to the point where I was skipping who paragraphs in the last chapter in an attempt to just finish the thing. NOT what you'd expect a reader to do in a suspense novel, but Arturo Perez-Reverte just doesn't make you care.
I give it a two rather than a one star rating only because the character of Father Priamo is relatively well drawn and interesting. But it's hard to hold a book just on the basis of one character.
This reads like the work of a mediocre college student.
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read,
As one of Perez-Reverte's earlier novels, the characters are not quite as well fleshed out as they are in his later books. On it's own however, it is quite the entertaining read. The main character, Quart, comes across as a priest who doesn't think of himself as a priest so much as a 'soldier of the church' or a modern incarnation of a knight templar. As a result the reader experiences Quart's inner turmoil through his eyes as an unusual priest whose conscience seems to be lacking (or rather buried) so he can perform the 'dirtier' work of the church. Although not an inquisitor, he comes across more like a jaded detective focused only on his duty. Perez-Reverte's writing style is enchanting and draws you into the story creating rich visualizations of the church, it's parishoners, and it's custodians. Perhaps not as good as his later works, it still remains an intriguing story in which a careful eye can discern the emergence of a writer whose style is emerging and becoming more refined. A great read for anyone interested in church mysteries or a mystery set in modern Seville in Spain.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a mystery book,
This review is from: The Seville Communion (Hardcover)
I bought the book because I enjoyed Flanders Panel. But this book is not a mystery novel. The whole plot really revolves around the church (Our Lady of Tears) that is bound to be demolished but is being defended by the parish priest and a rich duchess who has some rights to the church property. The subplot is a hacker who got into the Vatican computer and left messages to the pope asking for help to preserve the said church. At the end, we finally found the hacker called Vespers but it is more of a confession rather than by detective work. There are some funny moments with three characters who are being paid to destroy the church.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful,
When an ingenious hacker infiltrates the Vatican's computer system and leaves a message on the Pope's desktop imploring the Vatican to save the soon-to-be demolished Our Lady of the Tears church in Seville, the Vatican deploys its version of a special operations expert in the formidable personage of Fr. Lorenzo Quart. Quart is handsome, rugged and epitomizes the business end of the Vatican while promoting a no-nonsense vision of the Church in Rome that exactly opposes the cozy sanctuary feel of Our Lady of the Tears. The congregation of the old and crumbling church believe that the building itself has an uncanny sense of survival; two murders or accidents have already taken place; the victims, people involved in the church's scheduled demolition. World-toughened Quart believes no such thing, he attributes the church's strange staying power to its motley crew of supporters: an old renegade pastor, his young computer-savy associate, a art-restoring nun from California, a willful yet beautiful aristocrat and her old-fashioned mother with a fetish for Coca Cola. The opposition is just as real--a jilted banker amd his hilarious stoogelike henchmen who envision a more self-serving and lucrative edifice on the Our Lady of Tears property.
The plot however is secondary in this most wonderful of character studies. As Quart discovers the different truths that center around the old church, he ekes out the meaning that the Church has not only for its individual protectors, but also for himself. Like any truely good piece of literature the main character undergoes some metamorphosis; Quart's is profound and well worth the read through the stirring backdrop of beautiful Seville.
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I find the "Seville Communion" incompariable when looked at in the same context as "The Flanders Panel" and "Club Dumas". While I liked these other novels, I was moved by the Seville Communion and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys their characters made of flesh and blood, not just stereotypical ideals.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book, But not Better Than The Flanders Panel,
The first book I read by Perez-Reverte was The Flanders Panel. Instantly, I went out and bought this. I was not as impressed by this novel, although it was very good.
First off, the characterizations were not as rich, as pure. Some of the characters were poorly detailed. Don Octavio is a good example. I was never really clear on his importance in the story. He never played a critical role, seeming to be an unnecessary character. His role in several relationships was important, but as a character, he seemed lacking. The Three villains were another good example. They were largely one dimensional: The fat, old, hedonistic leader. The lost and lovely, but compromised, singer, young at heart, protected by the men. And the battered, punch-drunk, silly, and far too loyal boxer. They are one dimensional and at best, I simply wanted them to die so that I wouldn't have to read about them anymore. I almost got my hope due to their unflinching stupidity, but I was saddened to discover their return.
However, that is not to say the book was entirely bad. The story itself was a familiar one, from many a dime-store novel. But, as with all classic stories, the value is in the telling, not in the originality. Father Quart was interesting, and it was fun to watch him come of age. Yes, that is right. The story is largely a tale of the coming-of-age of a middle-aged priest. Many people call it a mystery, but it isn't really all that mysterious. I knew whodunnit, as it is so charmingly written, shortly after it was done. There were not a lot of surprises, certainly not enough to make it a mystery. Granted, it does follow that pattern of a story line, and none of the characters (including two of the priests central to the story) are sinless, but it really isn't about that. It is a tale of discovery, of hope, of love. That, my friends, is not a mystery. It is a coming-of-age story that is parading itself as a mystery, and in that role, it is excellent.
The technical details are a bit boring, so I have left them for last. The book is well put together, although the chapters could have been a bit shorter (like all of Perez-Reverte's books...is it possible that American's merely have a short attention span?). The translator was not as flawless, as there are some turns of phrase that are quite bizarre and discontinous. Twirling one's cigar in one's mouth is not an activity for which I would personally use the term 'voluptously', but that may be a matter more of style than translation. However, things like that were not in the last book, so I suspect that it is translational. The singing that oen of the three villains does almost always is a bit obnoxious, a trend I hope is reserved to this novel. Last, but not least, a few more translations of Spanish and Latin titles would be helpful. I have elementary knowledge of both languages, but there were times when I was completely unable to make out what was being said.
A good book, overall, and a fun read. I recommend it. It will join the ranks of my "Borrow to my friends" novels.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is more than just a �whodunnit�.,
People who have never read Arturo Perez Reverte will be deceived when told "Seville communion" is a plain "whodunnit" thriller. Reverte's books are muchh more than that. What he usually does is imagine an unusual situation (the plot), and unusual characters, and these characters will relate to each other with the unusual situation as background. This is how he works, and we can notice it in "The Dumas club", "The Flanders panel" and "The nautical chart".
"Seville communion" follows the same pattern. The unusual situation is that someone named Vespers has hacked into His Holiness The Pope's personal computer. There, vespers leaves a message about how a small but ancient church in Seville is killing people who want it destroyed. Yes, it's a bit strange, but Reverte knows how to manage the bizarre plots he conceives.
The main character is Father Lorenzo Quart, a member of a "black-ops" branch of the Catholic Church in Rome. More like a soldier than a priest, he travels to Seville to see what's really going on. In the Andaluzian city he will find many of those unusual characters, like an ambitious banker who wants the grounds the church lies on, his ex-wife, beautiful, powerful, with a little crush on men who wear black, her old, Coca-Cola addicted mother, four small-time crooks who can't do anything right, an old priest who will do anything to save his parish, and other interesting people.
Reverte's characters are developed almost to exhaustion (the author's exhaustion, not the reader's). His story flows very well. Reverte writes in a way that doesn't offend the reader with idiotic paragraphs and chapters, and sometimes he deliberately hides one thing or another from the reader, leaving him/her to think. All these elements together make you forget that "Seville communion" 's genre is supposedly a mistery thriller. It's way more than that.
Although Reverte's books may seem strange (pointless) at a first glance, you have to get used to them to fully appreciate his kind of literature. Don't give after only a few pages.
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seville Communion (Hardcover)
This book was highly recommended to me but turned out to be a major disappointment. The characters were one dimensional, the mystery was less than compelling and the writing was sub-par. The author kept interrupting the flow of the mystery with these supposedly humorous scenes with some bumbling co-consipirators. It wasn't funny, it wasn't mysterious, it was just bad.
4.0 out of 5 stars The mystery is secondary,
Ostensibly, this is the story of a hacker breaking into the Vatican computer system and appealing to the Pope to save a small, neighbourhood church in Seville from being shut down. Father Lorenzo Quart is sent by the Vatican to Seville to uncover just who this hacker, who goes by the code name Vespers, really is.
But really, the mystery is incidental. For me, the book's raison d'etre wasn't really to discover who Vespers was, but to present the reader with vividly drawn characters and situations. The scenes that portrayed the slowly unfolding relationship between Quart and Maccarena, or the funny-sad trio of would-be criminals, or Don Priamo, the aged priest who would sacrifice all for his simple faith were what kept me reading.
I will definitely read more by Perez-Reverte.
2.0 out of 5 stars Whodunit? - Who Cares?,
Nothing irks the mystery reader more than noodling through a somewhat logically-derived story, only to be served a ridiculous ending like that offered by Reverte in The Seville Communion. Frankly (and I'm about to give the mystery away here, so be warned), the ending - the whodunit - made more sense before the last page, which served only to insult the reader. Yes, I know, the priest was playing the martyr. The point is, Vespers made more sense as Methusela than the young nun. I can't possibly be the only one who thinks this, am I? I concur heartily with other reviewers who found the writing tediuous, the characters linear and wholly noncompelling, and the plot/story absurd. In addition, I found Methusela to be a half-baked version of Walker Percy's Father Smith, though Reverte's Smith wasn't nearly as compelling or intelligent as Percy's. In my estimation, Reverte has yet to write anything quite worth investing time or money into reading.
3.0 out of 5 stars Smart, suspenseful thriller that is more than mind candy,
Generally speaking, readers are forced to choose between intelligent, character-driven, quality literature and dumbed-down, mindless, plot-driven fiction.
Arturo Perez-Reverte is one of the few writers who finds a happy medium between the two. Yes, his books center around an exciting plot, move at a healthy pace, and leave little time for the reader to think about character development or artistic merit. And yet, his books are more than just mind candy. They are smart, suspenseful thrillers that will leave you feeling at least satisfied if not wholesomely enriched. The Seville Communion is no exception.
Set in modern-day Seville, this is the story of Father Lorenzo Quart, sent by the investigative arm of the Vatican's foreign affairs ministry to investigate two mysterious deaths in an old, neglected church that local banking executives want abolished, so the land can be used for more lucrative development purposes. A feisty old priest and a local aristocratic woman lead the efforts to keep the church alive. And an anonymous computer hacker is breaking into the Pope's personal computer system to deposit messages warning the Holy See that this old church will do what it must to protect itself and ensure its survival. Perez-Reverte creates a cast of colorful characters - Quart, the ruggedly attractive priest whose vow of chastity never seems to be his top priority, Macarena, the elegant aristocrat who always seems to be seducing him, and many more. Set against the backdrop of Seville, a city filled with old world charm and beauty, this novel has the feel of a period piece even though it is set in modern day, complete with cell phones and computer hackers.
Though The Fencing Master, in my opinion, is his best work, The Seville Communion is an excellent read, an exciting whodunit for intelligent readers.
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The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Hardcover - March 18 1998)
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