Book Review: John the Pupil by David Flusfeder

January 7, 2015

John the Pupil by David Flusfeder is a fictional travelogue set in the middle ages. This is the author’s seventh novel, but it is the first work by him that I read.

  • 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062339184

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book to two (2) winners –to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post.

Book Review John the Pupil by David Flusfeder

My Rat­ing for John the Pupil 5

Buy this book in paper or elec­tor­nic format*

More Books by David Flusfeder

John the Pupil by David Flusfeder is both funny and clever. Right from the first pages, the author mocks the entire book by stating that “all historical novels are failures”, that takes guts.

At first it seems that the book is just a simple travelogue of a monk sent by Roger Bacon to deliver his book ,Opus Majus, to Pope Clement IV. John takes with him Brother Andrew, cursed with good looks, and Brother Bernard who is their protector. Along the way they meet Simeon the Palmer who plays the antagonist throughout the trip.

Being set in the Middle Ages the book throws many challenges at Brother John and his companions, from ailments due to the trip (sore feet), the times (sickness), and of course timeless challenges (women), all in a wonderfully funny and vivid narrative.

As I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about how times have changed in the relationship between scientists and religious leaders. It seems that the relationship has turned around 180 degrees, where in the Middle Ages all three major religions embraced science, technology, math and the arts, it seems that these days certain loud religious leader seem to think that unless it’s written in the Bible, it’s false (unless it’s a check, of course).

Make sure to follow the attendant notes (written by “the translator”) at the end of the book, as you go through it page by page. These really lively up the travelogue and add another dimension to the book and help the enjoyment immensely.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tor­nic format*

More Books by David Flusfeder


  • Give­away ends: January 14, 2015

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • NoPOBoxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: Name as Email

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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  • JaneGSJanuary 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    It does sound like a fun book–clever premise. I love stuff like this. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

  • Sharon HenningJanuary 7, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I have to disagree with your observation. Who are these religious leaders you’re thinking of? I see the opposite. Today I see evolutionary scientists loudly and inflexibly rejecting the Bible or any possibility that God created the universe even though the facts in the Bible have remained steadfast and it’s science that is forever changing, many times changing to agree with the Biblical account of nature and archeology.

    I see the middle ages as a time where the intellectuals and educators of that day understood that religion was a valid and crucial element of a person’s complete academic learning. Indeed all scientists and mathematicians prior to the 18th century were Christians. There are many Christian scientists today that do meaningful work.

    Today, it’s the secularists that discount religious learning as a valid portion of a well rounded education.

    You should watch the movie documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein and the mathematician David Berlinsky.

    • Zohar - Man of la BookJanuary 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Sharon, thanks for your comment.

      What facts are in the Bible that scientists vehemently disagree with?
      The Bible is a complex text which was never meant to be read literary or with naive absolutism. Historically the major religions changed their doctrine to reflect advancements in science and technology, many of the fights were about who is allowed to disseminate that information, not about the information itself (Galileo is a prime example of that).

      Also, it’s not true that “all sci¬en¬tists and math¬e¬mati¬cians prior to the 18th cen¬tury were Chris¬tians”. There were great advancement in optics, astronomy, math, medicine, physics and chemistry by Middle Eastern Muslims in Middle Ages. Several Rabbis in Prague also authored seminal works in science, notably in astronomy and medicine, during the 16th and 17th Century.

      I also don’t think that learning the Bible is discounted in today’s society, maybe it’s being studied more as literature, but it still is considered part of a well rounded education.

  • Virginia LlorcaJanuary 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I really like the cover. I have been dabbling with fonts. Is it professional? It looks good.

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