Customer Reviews for


Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2002

    5 stars for atmosphere, 3 stars for plotting

    This story centers around a 17th century bookseller, shortly after the Restoration, who is sent on a possibly futile but presumably innocent search for a missing book. He has been drawn, unwittingly into international intrigue and his life is placed in jeopardy by unknown persons. A second plot gives the background as it was played out in the political situation of forty years earlier. The reader's reaction to this book is likely to be determined by the relative value that they place on backdrop and plotting. I think that King's real purpose in producing this book was to give the reader a look at 17th century Europe and a variety of arcana. This is usually extremely interesting, if occasionally excessive in its detail. He seems to regard telling a story as a necessary evil and the resulting plot is pretty feeble. This raises the question, what's wrong with non-fiction? But King opts for a novel and uses the tried and true vehicle of the naif drawn unwittingly into a complex plot and pursued by mysterious and sinister persons. Or in this case, two naifs, for two interrelated stories are being told, one in 1620 and one in 1660. King maintains suspense by the crude but effective method of switching to the other story just as something dramatic happens. Unfortunately, the story-telling is pretty sloppy - I cannot fathom why Emilia Molyneux is in the story: obviously to serve as the 1620 naif, but why would the Plessington and Jirasek have wanted to be burdened with her? For that matter, King doesn't really end their story properly, he just drops it and perfunctorily relates a few details in the course of the 1660 story. King also sticks in an implausible subplot relating to a coded message which is simply left hanging. I presume the entire point was to display some esoterica about codes and he forgot that it was supposed to be tied into the overall story. The 1660 tale comes to an incredible ending; I leave it to the reader's taste to decide if it is too fantastic and might be said to render the entire tale pointless. I hope I've said enough to be helpful: there is no arguing taste.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    Fine Historical Detail

    Ex-Libris serves up a fine story of intrigue, betrayals, secret codes and obscure puzzles as it moves between 1660 England and Prague in 1620. Let the reader of light literature be forewarned: this is not the novel to skim through on a hot day at the beach. There are details galore about early bookbinding, ancient texts, 17th century mapmaking, and European history. The story itself requires close reading; I had to return to parts of it at the end to make sure I understood the import of certain events, and even then it was not always clear. However, bibliophiles and history buffs will enjoy this fascinating tale of a common man caught in a web of secrets and deception.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1