As the world hovers perilously on the brink of a new millennium, Spanish monk Alfonso de Leon takes a bloody comet as a sign of the coming of the Antichrist and a portent of the end of time. Miracles and monstrous infants abound. Soon Moorish and Christian armies will clash in an apocalyptic battle for control of Spain. The war of two civilizations is embodied in a poignant duel to the death between twin brothers born to a concubine in the harem at Cordoba: Alfonso, scribe and illuminator of the Book of ...
As the world hovers perilously on the brink of a new millennium, Spanish monk Alfonso de Leon takes a bloody comet as a sign of the coming of the Antichrist and a portent of the end of time. Miracles and monstrous infants abound. Soon Moorish and Christian armies will clash in an apocalyptic battle for control of Spain. The war of two civilizations is embodied in a poignant duel to the death between twin brothers born to a concubine in the harem at Cordoba: Alfonso, scribe and illuminator of the Book of Revelation, and Abd Allah, the Black Rider, ruthless captain of al-Mansur's troops. Face-to-face after years of separation, each strives to free himself from the other's uncanny hold. Two women, Jimena and Almarada, share the brothers' destinies. Using his lyrical and narrative powers and a keen eye for doomsday terrors and superstitions, Aridjis conjures up a panoply of compelling characters - the false messiah Isidoro the First, who does a brisk trade in spurious relics; wandering minstrels Sancho Saborejo and Oro Maria; the hermaphrodite Dona Miguel; saintly virgins, wistful eunuchs, hermits, monks and nuns - while contrasting the military might and sensuous splendor of the Cordoban caliphate with the austerity and religious fervor of the Christian kingdoms to the north.
Mexican diplomat, poet and novelist Aridjis (1492) evokes medieval Spain in this intriguing tale of apocalyptic obsession and war between Christians and Muslims. The narrator is Alfonso de Leon, ``scribe and illuminator of the Apocalypse,'' a monk whose monastery faces imminent destruction by Muslim raiders led by Abd Allah, aka the Black Rider, Alfonso's twin brother. Swelled with the notion of himself as messiah, Alfonso both awaits and fears the inevitable confrontation with his brother, which may decide the religious and political fate of Spain. Meanwhile, Alfonso must fend off Isidoro, a false messiah who pronounces the names of his disciples backwards, and at the same time must confront his own, less than monastic desire for the daughter of a strange local woman. While Aridjis shows a poet's ear for language, his narrative demands patience; individual chapters (or ``Visions,'' as they're called) are strangely disconnected, leaving the plot somewhat adrift. Readers who persevere will discover a richly recreated historical world enveloped in dogma, sustained by faith and inhabited by people who view a historical conflict as the final battle between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness. (Oct.)
In an apocalyptic retelling of Cain and Abel, Aridjis re-creates Spain three centuries into its reconquest from the Moors. Aridjis, the author of four other translated works, most recently 1492 (LJ 5/1/91), captures the flavor of those colorful events in Len, the capital at the time. The writing is supported by well-researched documentation, and a profusion of characters, both verifiable and fictitious, swarm through the chapters (appropriately labeled visions). The internecine rivalry between the Christian narrator and his twin Muslim brother climaxes in a predictable Armageddon, which readers may find relevant in the twilight of this millennium. A readable translation of a 1994 best seller in Mexico and Spain; definitely recommended. [For a review of Aridjis's Antologa potica, a collection in Spanish of his poetry since 1960, see En Espaol, LJ 7/95.-Ed.]-Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
In the new mystical and metaphorical blend of legend and history from the renowned Mexican author of the highly acclaimed "1492", the fates of twin brothers separated as children become inextricably entwined as Christians and Moors wage battle for the heart and soul of the Iberian Peninsula. Narrated by Alfonso de Leon, a Christian monk and scribe, the series of divinations and visions of which this novel consists opens in the year 1000. The first millennium is waning; the second, preparing to dawn. During this sacred and transitory period, Alfonso records many portentous encounters with his twin, Abd Allah of Cordoba, a fiercely dedicated Muslim who has undertaken a symbolic quest to slay his brother. When the brothers inevitably meet in mortal combat, their personal rivalry parallels and reflects the spiritual and cultural gulf that irrevocably divides the Christian and Muslim faiths.
From Barnes & Noble
As miracles and monstrous portents abound and the millennium approaches, twin brothers born in a harem at Cordoba--one a Christian monk and scribe, the other a ruthless Moor--are locked in a duel to the death.