We begin with a Page of Contents (there is no table involved) in which there is a brief synopsis of what is to come. The dilemma – do I read this and spoil the surprise? Methinks I shall skip it for now, so I might be appropriately delighted when events unfold forthwith.
This book is not a book – it is a tale that is being told, a story that could be conveyed to a small, squirming child at bedtime to calm them and influence their dreams. Well, perhaps not a child. We get to page 9 and any thoughts of giving this to a child fly out the window. We very quickly move into the realm of violence, ridiculousness, and ridiculous violence.
This is the tale of Brother Banenose, a 14th century Franciscan monk who starts off on a journey to visit his cousin, but quickly discovers that his simple path is not so simple. He meets a variety of characters and embarks on a quest to save a Holy Relic that has been stolen from his monastery.
Brother Banenose seems to incite murderous rages in all he meets. Some of these rages really have nothing to do with the good Brother, but some he brings about all on his own. He comes across as naïve and sincere, gullible and a bit stupid. Yet his faith remains strong. He wants to become a saint, but is a bit hesitant about the martyring part of that goal.
My favorite character by far is Fairuza. She is fairly consistent, loyal, and has an ultimate goal in mind. She is a strong, independent female character who occasionally gives out very good advice. She may be an evil witch with no morals, but I like her all the same!
It is very wordy, and I can see how some might find the language difficult. The author is trying to capture the feeling of the 14th century. There are also some lines in German that are not translated into English for those of us who “sprechen kein Deutsch*.”
All in all, it is a wild ride full of many fantastical things. There is violence and juvenile humor and words I don’t understand, but it was an extraordinary journey just the same!
*“don’t speak German.” I think. I don’t know, I don’t speak German!