A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening by Mario de Carvalho
Mario de Carvalho's novel, set in the fictional town of Tarcisis during the dying years of Marcus Aurelius reign as Emperor of the Roman Empire, fully deserves the Pegasus Prize for Literature, dealing as it does with a civic leader's attempt, over a six month period, to deal with several fundamental issues, ending with the trial of fervent Christianity in a small town atmosphere that is itself under social change and duress.
The story concerns the administration of the sole duumvir (the other dying off quite quickly midterm), Lucius Valerius Quintius, husband of Mara, focusing on two main areas of action. The first is the impending arrival of the human migration of Moors at the city walls, the other the advent of a Christian sect. Weaving into both is his relationship with Rufus Cardillius, aedile-elect and tavern keeper and with Iunia Cantaber, daughter of the respected equestrian, Maximus Cantaber, who has become a fervent Christian.
After an opening skirmish with Pontius Velutius Modius over the destruction of his house to replace the crumbling city wall and his subsequent suicide and the capture of Arsenna, a highwayman, by his trusted centurion, Aulus, Lucius finds his attempt to emulate his philosopher emperor brings him into odds with the people he is entrusted to care for. His very aloofness removes him from the common mind and he patently struggles at times to understand human nature. All of which stands him in bad stead when he is reluctantly forced to deal with the Christian sect and, more particularly, confront the nature of his personal relationship with Iunia who is determined upon a course of martyrdom. With an assorted supporting cast including Ennius Calpurnius, a senator, Lucius allows events to wash past him in an almost emotionless way as he defends his city from attack and struggles to understand the new religion that has come to his city whilst retaining his philosophical way of life.
Partway through Carvalho returns us to Rome for a flashback at the Colosseum where Lucius is singled out personally by Marcus Aurelius for some advice that remains with his for his entire life, if only when he realises he is not following it.
The novel is beautifully crafted and the inner struggles portrayed in the book are timeless yet vividly drawn, bringing a cast of characters to life in a manner that is both tragic and joyful, full of justice and injustice, yet all the while a sense of fate looms large, an inexorability that social change is slow to come and cannot be rushed. Carvalho's novel fully justifies its recognition.
This A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening book review was written by travelswithacanadian
Have you read A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Death in St James's Park
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return to London there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court and of corruption among his officials - and when a cart lad...
Mystery in the Minster
In 1358 the fledging college of Michaelhouse in Cambridge is in need of extra funds. A legacy from the Archbishop of York of a parish close to that city promises a welcome ...
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have me...
Murder on High Holborn
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sin...
Death of a Scholar
In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswa...
Andersonville by Edward M Erdelac
Edward M Erdelac
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union ...
The King of Scotland is dead. The nobles fight over the succession, unaware that King Edward of England has plans of his own. For years, Edward has nurtured a fierce vision...
The Chelsea Strangler
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient m...
The Lost Abbot
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: