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Passarola Rising Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038610
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.9 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,350,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9de023a8) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de080e4) out of 5 stars "They are afraid that I'll sail my ship through the ether and find what must not be found." Jan. 19 2006
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In 1731 Lisbon, Bartolomeu Lourenco and his younger brother, Alexandre, sail from the earth in Bartolomeu's scientifically designed flying ship, the Passarola. Thus begins a great adventure that withstands the small-mindedness of the envious, the rigors of unfriendly climates and the political machinations of those who would deny the brothers their dream, their final rite of passage a journey across the Azores, an eight-hundred mile trip in three days. This magnificent invention will sail all over the world in years to come, all below insignificant in contrast, gliding from one continent to another, undeterred by doubt or hardship: "We braved air currents, we plowed into rainbows and we sailed through clouds."

From metaphysical philosophy to the religious fanaticism of the Inquisition, from royal hubris to doomed military campaigns, the brothers Lourenco rise above it all, their flying ship the metaphorical ascent of man's intellect and reaching for God's boundaries. His grand ambition realized in the Passarola, Bartolomeu dreams of riding the currents of the skies, unobstructed, until an Inquisitor, Cardinal Conti, threatened by the unknown, declares the endeavor evil and schemes to bring about its destruction. Their reputation in tatters thanks to the Cardinal's vicious gossip, the brothers leave behind their successes in Portugal, fleeing to France, where they are taken under the protection of King Louis XV. Louis sends them headlong into a maritime battle in Poland and later to explore the Equator and the Polar Circle. Desperate to repair his battered ship, Bartolomeu agrees, a higher purpose ever in his Jesuit-trained mind: "I want to see what exists at the edge of the world."

All that military men and monarch's can imagine as a consequence of the Passarola is a fleet of warships, Bartolomeu's magnificent creation betrayed by the martial ambitions of kings and their lackeys. This superior vision, a sampling of all the world has to offer is too foreign a concept for men who seek to conquer by force. But harsh reality fails to subdue the beauty of this fable. His protagonist based on a true character, the author has embellished history in this imaginative mix of fact and fiction, intellectual paucity and religious stricture trumped by one Bartolomeu's curiosity and trust in scientific truth, two brothers embarked on a journey of a lifetime. Luan Gaines/ 2006.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de08138) out of 5 stars superb historical fiction Jan. 21 2006
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After leaving Brazil for Portugal and gaining financial sponsoring in Lisbon, by 1731 Bartolomeo Louren is ready to test his airship, the Passarola in front of His Majesty Joao V. However, Bartolomeo's flying machine angers Cardinal Conti who believes that if man was meant to fly, God would have given Adam wings. With the force of the Portuguese Inquisition, he forces Bartolomeo and his younger brother Alexandre to flee via their airship to France.

French King Louis XV supports Bartolomeo's efforts to improve on the Passarola as the enlightened monarch sees great military advantage in fighting enemies on the ground from the air. Meanwhile the Acadmie des Sciences hire the siblings to measure distances to the polar circle, which they undertake. On the dangerous trek, Alex claims to have seen a great city, but no proof is offered and his older brother admits he never saw the phantom sprawl. After a return to France, Alex goes home to Brazil as the adventures are over for him, but Bartolomeo starts a new epic in India.

Based on the real account of two eighteenth century brothers, PASSAROLA RISING is a superb historical fiction novel that brings to life the first half of the eighteenth century through the passion of siblings who want to soar through the sky. The tale is told in a look back memoir like manner by Alexandre, who romanticizes and worships his creative talented and daring older brother. Readers will enjoy the adventures of two daredevils defying church, royalty, and other powers of society to live out their dream even though for one of them it turns into a relatively short fantasy.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de0830c) out of 5 stars Light story of flight Sept. 6 2006
By S. Park - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The nature of the subject matter of the novel -- a flying ship named Passarola -- captures the overall tone of the novel perfectly. Throughout my reading I've been imagining a great ship afloat in the air as light and as silent as feather.

The story is told by a man named Alexandre recollecting his days in youth sailing on board Passarola with his elder brother Bartolomeu, the inventor of the ship. Its backdrop is the turmoil of 18C Europe, and its character distinctively picaresque. Though serious events such as the battle between France and Russia over the sovereignty of Poland, and Alexandre's losing love, the events are depicted with a remote, hence necessarily light, touch.

So the description that the novel is light serves both as a praise and as criticism -- a praise for capturing the atmosphere of flying perfectly, and a criticism for not posing any serious questions. Despite this fact I enjoyed the book very much. Abidi can definitely tell a story. It will be interesting to see him taking up heavier topics.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9de08930) out of 5 stars Delightful little book! Aug. 7 2013
By Steve Foerster - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's been a while since I read this book, but it's one of those ones that's sticks with you for a while. It has historical figures in it, but it's not historical fiction. It changes history by introducing an airship a century ahead of when they really appeared, but it's not alternative history. Its lyrical prose reads more like a fairy tale, or a dream, with elements of a coming-of-age story and an adventure tale. But as difficult as it is to categorize, there's one thing I can say for sure, and that's that I recommend it very highly!
HASH(0x9de088dc) out of 5 stars A Good, Solid Read Nov. 2 2013
By Michael C. Ackerman - Published on
This novel had a most spectacular premise: a flying vessel created in the mid 1700's which King Louie of France develops an interest in, though the king's interest is more militaristic, whereas the two brothers who commandeer the ship want no military ties whatsoever. It's a great tale of sky-born adventure that take the brothers to far reaching places throughout the whole of the Earth by way of flight. They must battle the wiles of a cardinal during the Inquisition who fears that the ship will pierce the heavens and discover that there is no God, which, of course, would devastate the cardinal's livelihood. The two brothers are even put on trial and convicted as though they were witches, but King Louis overturns the verdict. The younger brother, Alex, gives up his adventures after discovering that the poles of the spherical Earth are of a flat shape, an astounding discovery at that time in history, and he then settles down with his wife who becomes pregnant. The ending of the novel tended toward a bit of vagueness, however, and was a tad bit empty and depressing, hence the four star review instead of a five star one. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this little tryst and would definitely recommend it to any layman looking for a good, quick read, but I'd especially recommend it to history buffs.

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