Customer Reviews for

The Book of Skulls

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    Immortality beckons with consequences

    I enjoyed this story of four college friends who take the road trip of a lifetime, one that has implications that reach past life. The story is told with each friend taking a turn at narrating. Little by little the reader learns the mystery of Eli's ancient text he's translated and his discovery that the cult of the skull may live in New Mexico. The story is filled with the emotional challenges of college students -- life purpose, love, parents, status, money, independence, and religion. They only learn what they value in life after they undergo a rite of passage that selects which two boys earn immortality at the expense of the others. Not a creepy horror, this story excels at characterization and the unknowable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006

    What Price Immortality?

    While I am not familiar with the works of Robert Silverberg, I am familiar with his name and his genre. The basic story here is about four college kids at a large, well known eastern university, who discover an ancient book that promises immortality. They agree to journey out west in search of the Brotherhood of the Skulls in a quest for immortality. Each one of them is undertaking this journey for different reasons and along the way they will learn disturbing things about themselves. I have to say that I found the ending of the book to be unsatisfying, but, considering the questions that Mr. Silverberg has raised, I am not sure there can be a satisfying ending. It is a slow moving book with much talk of hetero- and homosexual sex and a lot of philosophizing. If you can get beyond that and look at the book on a deeper level, it is a absorbing book. I believe that Mr. Silverberg, rather than wanting to write a novel of pop fiction, intended to raise interesting questions such as what price are we willing to pay for immortality? He raises questions about faith and beliefs. Is the Brotherhood just another cult, not unlike the ones led by Jim Jones and David Koresh? Or, are they really immortal? Moreover, if they really are immortal, what is the ultimate price the survivors have to pay for it, (i.e. can they eventually leave the Skullhouse or must they remain there in order to maintain their immortality (not unlike leaving Shangri-La in 'Lost Horizon'))? What have they really gained? I would like to live forever also, but I want to have some fun doing it. While the ending of the book is ambiguous and leaves the reader to ponder what might actually happen afterwards, I believe, it will inspire long, deep, and possibly heated, conversations.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A classic

    The Manhattan Jew Eli found THE BOOK OF SKULLS in a Columbia University library. He and is three Harvard University mates, Timothy, Oliver, and Ned agree to head to Arizona where the monks reside who control the secrets of the tome. The four know that two must die for two to gain immortality. They drive from New England for the southwest on a fifty-fifty chance of eternal life and youth.------ In Arizona, the quartet meets the monks and become postulants in the monastery. They already know that three must murder one and one of the three must commit suicide for the other two to ¿pass¿ the test. As they reveal their inner secrets to one another each wonders will they die before they turn twenty-one or live as a twenty year old forever?------ This is a reprint of a terrific early 1970s tale that once begun a reader cannot stop until the novel is finished. Robert Silverberg, before Valentine became a fantasy icon, provided a deep look at the human condition especially life and death in an early game of survivor. The story line rotates viewpoint though purposely not equally so that the audience can see inside the soul of each participant. Interestingly Mr. Silverberg stereotypes his foursome also on purpose so that the reader must ponder even more so why. THE BOOK OF SKULLS remains a powerful glimpse at human desires.----- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

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