I still don’t like it when I give up on a book, but it’s finally getting home to me that even though I have taken hundreds of books to charity shops this summer, I’ll never get through the remaining books I have, let alone all the new ones I keep acquiring. I’m starting to be able to let go on books that aren’t engaging me for whatever reason.
One such recently was The Tower by Alessandro Gallenzi.
It’s a dual narrative tale: the contemporary strand is a thriller about a manuscript theft from a high tech organisation based in Jordan that aims to scan everything of note ever written; the historical part is about the author of said manuscripts – Giordano Bruno, a philosopher of the late Renaissance who has a photographic memory and is on the run from the inquisition.
The Latin and history experts drafted in by the mysterious Biblia organisation to work out what was so special about the missing papers (which were stolen by a Jesuit priest who was subsequently murdered) are the stereotypical laid-back Brit, Peter Simms and an intense Italian, Giulia. This pair, thrust together are chalk and cheese, and I couldn’t see any chemistry between them. The moment I gave up was when I read this paragraph on page 115:
‘Giulia, I’ve got the message. But how did his system work? – I mean, if it’s not too complicated and it’s not going to take you until tomorrow to explain.’
The blurb championed the novel’s meticulous research, but it was oh so visible. This was a shame as I had liked the idea of the parallels between Bruno and Biblia both scanning all they read. What I read of the historic strand was much more interesting though than the cliché-ridden present day one. DNF
* * * * *
Source: Publisher – Thank you.
The Tower by Alessandro Gallenzi, pub 15 Sept by Alma Books. Trade paperback, 300 pages.