Book Review: Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

November 28, 2017

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones is a fictional book taking place in 1300s Spain, Barcelona to be more accurate. The book was published in 2006 and has been translated by Nick Caistor.

  • 611 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Group
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525950486

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My rating for Cathedral of the Sea– 5
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More Books by Ildefonso Falcones

When I started reading Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones the book that immediately came to mind was Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, the general themes and times seemed to be very similar, but the storytelling is, of course, very different.

The author does an excellent job moving the story along, even for such a large book. The descriptions of living a life, challenges, and classes of old Barcelona, as it is about to become a world center, are fascinating, engaging, and interesting.

The author doesn’t paint Spain with rose colored glasses, he talks about bigotry, the horrible Inquisition (whose main job was the steal the money of the rich, not necessarily conversion), commerce, and economic inequality. On top of all those there are the issues people struggle with to this day, religion, morality, the everyday problems life throws at you and how to reconcile them all.

My only complaint is that the books drags in the last quarter. The outcome was obvious, the characters were just as engaging and the story was still drawn out, nevertheless it was worth reading.

The novel follows Arnau Estanyol, the son of a fugitive serf who obtains freedom and eventually achieves a high status in medieval Barcelona.  Throughout his life, the one constant that Arnau has is a small cathedral which he have helped build, which grows, like Arnau, and becomes his solace and community when all else fails.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I borrowed this book from my mom.
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