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Philip Boast (1952 - )



This is the ninth title by an author who seems to specialise in the saga and epic style novel. To an extent Resurrection is in the same vein, split as it is into six sections, a prologue and an epilogue spanning several thousand years of British history. Based almost entirely within the walls of the old city of London and centred on the site we now call St. Paul's Cathedral, Boast creates an enticing tapestry of possibility based on the premise that the cathedral site always possessed and always will possess a powerful religious energy. After a brief prologue in the Stone Age we are introduced to the Roman nobleman Celatus Felix Caepio, his wife Camilla and daughter Ellen as they flee to London from East Anglia in 456 AD carrying with them all their worldly goods, barely steps ahead of the Saxon invaders. Gradually we discover the nature of Felix's treasure, hidden is a catacomb beneath the earliest St Paul's, and the stage is set for a great secret to be passed from mother to daughter down to the present day and beyond. A secret so great that, as each new guardian is told, 'This is what you protect with your life.' It would be grossly unfair to any reader to explain the secret in this review. Suffice it to say that anyone with an interest in conspiracy theories, the origins of the bible and the debate regarding the real life teachings of Jesus will be fascinated, whatever they might make of Boast's conclusions. Boast knows London and its past so intimately that layers of history are built plausibly and authentically upon each other - so much so that I was tempted to go and look for the hidden catacomb. Stories that cover such a vast period of time are not usually to my taste. But by the time I met Felix and his family I was hooked on the need to know what would happen. Similarly with Brother William, the twelfth century monk, whose desire to tell the truth is so at odds with the political policies of the established church. That said, not all the characters are as well drawn, leaving some sections interesting but less compelling than others. But all in all a solid entertaining read, and a definite page-turner. - Towse Harrison From The Historical Novel Review, published by the Historical Novel Society.

- Towse Harrison, 11/23/2005

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