The Captain’s Log – lent (Jo Walton)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I have always wanted to read this author’s work and this was the first.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this novel (and was surprised!) but I am certainly glad to have read it.

This novel follows Girolamo Savanarola who was a priest in 15th century Florence.  The fantasy twist of this historical novel is that this Dominican friar can actually see and banish demons.  This book deals with the end of his life and the machination of Florentine politics and religion.  His beliefs on religion, and his powerful sermons, led to a truly fascinating time in Florence.  I did not know when reading this how closely the author followed history while twisting it.  So cool.

The plot surprised me multiple times and I cannot spoil it but suffice to say that I was enthralled by this book.  I loved that demons and miracles did actually exist.  I loved the world building and how real Florence felt.  I loved how much I rooted for Girolamo through his ups and downs.  I enjoyed getting yet another perspective on the Medici family even though they were not the focus.  I was impressed.

The only small problem was the way the book resolved even though it made sense.  I just wasn’t ready to let go.  The author does have a wonderful post about historical references and the monastery.  Minor spoilers there for the plot.

I hear Walton has written a story about Victorian times with dragons.  Must read that (and the others).  Arrr!

Side note: Check out Matey Sarah’s lovely review where she says:

“At a stroke this book, vividly depicting character at a fascinating stage in Italian history, turned into something else – something more visceral and poignant. One of the hardest things for modern historians to capture is the desperate importance that religion played in the lives of our ancestors. Many fiction writers don’t even attempt it, while the better ones manage to give us a taste of the stakes, where Purgatory and Hell waited for the foolish, unwary and sinful with everlasting agony. Walton takes us right inside that dread and vividly recreates those terrors for us . . .”

Goodreads has this to say about the novel (shortened by me cause spoilers):

Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.

It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included . . .

That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who—or what—he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:
Jo Walton – Author

To buy the novel go to:
lent – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:
Yer Ports for Plunder List

6 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – lent (Jo Walton)

      1. I absolutely LOVE the Thessaly trilogy (especially the first book The Just City), and I also love her King’s Peace/King’s Name duology (Arthurian ‘retelling’) and the third associated novel The Prize in the Game (which is heartbreaking!)
        Walton is my favourite author for just how different each of her books is. 😀


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