The Hermetica of Elysium

The Hermetica of Elysium

by Annmarie Banks

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Overview

1494 Barcelona. As Torquemada lights the fires of religious fervor throughout the cities of Spain, accused heretics are not the only victims. Thousands of books and manuscripts are lost to the flames as the Black Friars attempt to purge Europe of the ancient secrets of the gods and the bold new ideas that are ushering in the Renaissance. Nadira lives a dreary life as servant to a wealthy spice merchant until the night a dying scholar is brought to the merchant's stable, beaten by mercenaries who are on the hunt for The Hermetica of Elysium. To Nadira, words are her life: she lives them as her master's scrivener and dreams them in her mother's poetry. She is pursued as passionately as the fabled manuscript for her rare skill as a reader of Ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic and Hebrew that makes her valuable to men who pursue the book to exploit its magic. Kidnapped by Baron Montrose, an adventurous nobleman, she is forced to read from the Hermetica. It is soon revealed to her that ideas and words are more powerful than steel or fire for within its pages are the words that incite the Dominicans to religious fervor, give the Templars their power and reveal the lost mysteries of Elysium. As Nadira begins her transformation from servant to sorceress, will she escape the fires of the Inquisition, the clutches of the Borgia pope, Alexander VI and the French king, Charles VIII? And will Montrose's growing fear of her powers cause her to lose her chance for love?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781908483065
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing
Publication date: 08/12/2011
Series: The Elysium Texts , #1
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Annmarie Banks spent the first twenty years of her professional life as a bookseller specializing in out-of-print and antiquarian books. She currently resides in the state of Arizona.

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The Hermetica of Elysium 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fifteenth century Europe saw the beginning of the Inquisition, the rise of the Borgias (Rodrigo Borgia or Pope Alexander IX, father to the infamous Lucrezia), and the fictional quest into the hidden meaning of a very special book, a Hermetica. Nadira, a servant girl in Spain, is the key to this book in The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks, the first in The Elysium Texts series.Nadira wasn't born into servitude, but she has spent the majority of her life as a servant/slave. Her mother was sold into servitude when Nadira was a child of five. Fortunately for Nadira, her mother was a learned woman that taught Nadira to speak, read and write several languages including Arabic, Spanish and Latin. Her owner/master Sofir, a spice merchant, had her learn Greek and Hebrew, along with a smattering of English. In a time when most men didn't know how to read one language, much less three or four, Nadira is quite unique, especially since she "worked" as a lowly clerk for a merchant. Robert Montrose may be a Baron, but he is for all intents and purposes a simple man with one purpose, to serve and protect his older brother Richard. After being separated from Richard, he learns of his death when he tracks him to Sofir's home. It is there that he discovers the unique linguistic abilities of Nadira. Robert is illiterate but knows that his brother was on a quest for a special book with special powers, The Hermetica. He also knows that he must continue this quest and can only do so with the assistance, voluntary or not, of Nadira. Needless to say, Nadira's master is not keen to release her, so Robert forces the issues and they are off. What follows is a series of abductions in a search for the hidden truths to the Hermetica. First, Nadira is abducted by Montrose and then taken captive by some monks and given to Monsieur Conti in Andorra. She isn't abused but kept in a gilded cage and asked to assist in translating several documents, parchments and books. She does so willingly until she discovers that Montrose is being held captive in a barn-like structure on the estate. His appearance coincides with a visit by several priests. She is able to negotiate Montrose's freedom from shackles but he is still kept a prisoner of Conti. Montrose isn't happy with the situation and realizes that they must escape as quickly as possible. Nadira fears for his health, safety and well-being and asks his patience. Unfortunately, the estate is seized and she is once again abducted and this time taken to Rome and Montrose is left for dead. During each abduction Nadira learns a little more about the power of the Hermetica and is basically taught a type of remote viewing with the assistance of different herbs. While in Rome she is able to view the French king and inform of his intentions. This is beneficial to Pope Alexander IX, but there are those that feel that the pope is in league with the devil and possibly being bewitched by Nadira. Given the political climate of the times, it is quite possible that she may be tortured or burnt at the stake for her abilities? Will she be reunited with Montrose, a man she has come to love and desires to protect at all costs? Will they ever learn the truths hidden in the Hermetica?Ms. Banks has crafted an unusual historical novel with hints at the paranormal. It's not quite magic nor is it true mysticism but more a combination of both with a little bit of help from psychotropic herbs and possibly mushrooms. The elusive Hermetica seems to include bits of philosophy and mysticism from all of the great religions and philosophers and supposedly dates back to ancient Egypt, specifically to the Temple of Isis. The basic storyline in The Hermetica of Elysium is acceptable, and the majority of the characters are relatively well developed. The fear of torture or worse from the Inquisition for being different, mention of the Black Plague, and other historical references were just enough to provide a believable background for the action.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I. loved. this. book.Gutsy heroine? Check. Intelligence? Check. Action and Adventure? Check. A touch of romance? Check. Fantastic setting? Check.Seriously ¿ everything needed to make a very interesting, historical novel that is very, very, very difficult to put down.Nadira is a special creature. Yes, she¿s bartered about the men in her life, but it isn¿t for her body ¿ oh no, it¿s for her mind. You see, she speaks quite a few languages, and has been called upon to help with translation. She is treated well by each one of her ¿captors¿, and as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that, indeed, she is something special.I ended up reading quite a few historical novels, set in medieval times this year. There have been a few disappointments, a few surprises, and some books that end up being the best books I¿ve read in quite some time. While The Hermetica of Elysium doesn¿t really rank that high, I will say it¿s one of the best medieval books I¿ve ever read. I really enjoyed strong Nadira, I loved that the book could be so clean without seeming unbelievable. This author is a definite ¿must watch¿ on my list of authors and I cannot wait for book two to be released next year.
eheinlen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't a fan of the title, but I'm glad that I read the book. It was wonderful. The author has a easy, loping style that sucks you in without you realizing it. The characters and the story were fascinating and engrossing and I couldn't put the book down. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction!
alaiel.kreuz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an amazing read this was. I have to be honest, I began reading this book a while ago and stopped after a few pages because I had a few problems and then, instead of picking it up again, I went to read something else and never came back for it.Major. Mistake. Ever. If you begin make sure to read a few chapters and I promise you won't stop. I still can't believe I didn't finish it before because it's AMAZING.Everything begins in Bercelona, Spain. The year is 1494 when Nadira's master calls for her to translate the last words of a man who has been beaten so badly she can barely look at him. But when this man realizes she can understand him and speak his language he leaves her a precious message that his captors can not understand.Soon the man dies and she is left with a secret message for his brother who comes and finds out the Nadira can, in fact, speak and translate several languages. And this makes her a valuable asset in their quest to fin The Hermetica of Elysium and understand its secrets before the Pope, the Inquisition and a King reach the book to destroy it or use it against the world.That's why this man, Baron Montrose, kidnaps her and begins an adventure that will take them to the confines of the earth...And why is this book so important? Because it holds knowledge, important knowledge about the power of words and how to use it. Soon Nadira begins to read from the book and realizes that despite being a woman in a time where the men ruled she could use her skills to get information and wisdom.Now she is learning from The Hermetica and becoming a sorcerer... but will all that power be enough to stop the plots surrounding her and Baron Montrose to whom she has develop feelings of love? Because it doesn't matter how many times she is kidnapped every captor gives her a new glimpse of the Book's power and helps her fullfil her destiny... Even when she doesn't understand or knows what's going to happen next.Personal opinion:My favorite character was, by far, Nadira. We don't really know too much about her past, all we are offered is that her mother was once a princess and her dad an emir. And thanks to her mother and their Master she is well educated. Her best quality is her desire to learn and when she realizes she is an important part in a plot of conspiracy and knowledge she decides to be the one to rule her destiny.Annemarie Banks has done a wonderful job creating a story where fantasy, adventure, historical romance and history collide in perfect harmony. You won't get tired of anything, you won't even want to stop reading... it's seriously impossible to want to put down the book when all you desire is to know what's going to happen next, what is Nadira going to learn or understand next.The love part of this book is well developed too, in case you were wondering and since I don't want to spoil anything I'm just going to say that everything happens at the right time and in the right moment. No rush, no craziness.And the setting is perfectly described: I'm from Spain and I've read tons of books about Barcelona during the Inquisition and I have to say that Annemarie did her homework really well. Thanks for that, Annemarie! I loved reading your descriptions of not only places but also people: they were real (which means they weren't always nice but accurate) and they helped me to create the Barcelona this book needed.My recommendation? Go and buy it, once at home make a hot beverage and sit down. You can come back and tell me if you liked it or not after you finish it... and then we can wait together for the next book!But never fear, The Hermetica has a proper ending, you will feel at ease with it... but you will want to know what the future holds for Nadira and Montrose too!
BrokenTeepee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightful, if sometimes dark tale. It does take place in Spain during the Inquisition so there are going to be unhappy times. The heroine, Nadira is woman stranded in slavery as her mother was taken in a raid. Her mother "was a princess, her father an emir." I wanted to know more about her background - perhaps my questions will be answered in future books - this is the first in a series. But if you ask me wanting to know more is the best you can ask from a book.Nadira is highly educated for her time; she can read and speak several different languages. When a half dead man is dumped at the feet of her master the men who bring him seek her out for her knowledge of Saracen. This man ultimately dies but leaves Nadira with a message. His brother comes seeking him and Nadira passes the message along. This Lord Montrose wants to take Nadira with him as he fulfills his brothers dying request due to her skills but her master won't let her go. He ultimately steals her away and they are off on an adventure Nadira could never have imagined.The main characters are quite well drawn and their relationships develop at a very real pace. A mild trust comes first, then a friendship then the love but it takes real time to get there. Nadira, as a slave does not feel like she has any control over her life until she discovers the power inside the book they are seeking. This is the fantasy aspect of the book and it rings true to the story. It does not over reach. It fit right into the story.My only disappointment occurred when I reached the end of the book and found that this was the first in a series. I did not realize that when I started and now I am anxious for the next book. I want to keep going on adventures with Nadira, Montrose and their band of good knights. This is a magical book in all the right ways.
arthistorychick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Banks offers the reader such a variety of experiences including: the rich descriptions of 15th century Europe and its religious climate; wonderfully well-rounded and relatable characters; and a plot that is intriguing, entertaining, and full of tension. Once the plot really begins to unfold about half-way through the book it steamrolls right on through to the very end. There is action, there is love, there is adventure, and there is a series of characters that you want to know more about. The shining star of the book is Nadira: she is confident, generous, intelligent, and able to hold her own in a world not receptive to her gender or her skill.This Medieval Fantasy novel is, without doubt, an outstanding start to this series and one I feel confident recommending to all readers and fans of Medieval, historical fiction, and fantasy genres. Of course Banks ends this novel on a huge cliffhanger. Generally when a book ends on a cliffhanger like the Hermetica of Elysium does, I am pissed off. In this instance I am totally excited and willing to wait for the next installment of this incredible series. The second book in The Elysium Texts Series is The Necromancer¿s Grimoire.
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
I wasn't a fan of the title, but I'm glad that I read the book. It was wonderful. The author has a easy, loping style that sucks you in without you realizing it. The characters and the story were fascinating and engrossing and I couldn't put the book down. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read An Unfettered Mind by Annmarie Banks and loved it hoping more would be published by her. I am disappointed this book is not offered for the Nook. I hope it will soon.
Alaiel_Kreuz More than 1 year ago
What an amazing read this was. I have to be honest, I began reading this book a while ago and stopped after a few pages because I had a few problems and then, instead of picking it up again, I went to read something else and never came back for it. Major. Mistake. Ever. If you begin make sure to read a few chapters and I promise you won't stop. I still can't believe I didn't finish it before because it's AMAZING. Everything begins in Bercelona, Spain. The year is 1494 when Nadira's master calls for her to translate the last words of a man who has been beaten so badly she can barely look at him. But when this man realizes she can understand him and speak his language he leaves her a precious message that his captors can not understand. Soon the man dies and she is left with a secret message for his brother who comes and finds out the Nadira can, in fact, speak and translate several languages. And this makes her a valuable asset in their quest to fin The Hermetica of Elysium and understand its secrets before the Pope, the Inquisition and a King reach the book to destroy it or use it against the world. That's why this man, Baron Montrose, kidnaps her and begins an adventure that will take them to the confines of the earth... And why is this book so important? Because it holds knowledge, important knowledge about the power of words and how to use it. Soon Nadira begins to read from the book and realizes that despite being a woman in a time where the men ruled she could use her skills to get information and wisdom. Now she is learning from The Hermetica and becoming a sorcerer... but will all that power be enough to stop the plots surrounding her and Baron Montrose to whom she has develop feelings of love? Because it doesn't matter how many times she is kidnapped every captor gives her a new glimpse of the Book's power and helps her fullfil her destiny... Even when she doesn't understand or knows what's going to happen next. Personal opinion: My favorite character was, by far, Nadira. We don't really know too much about her past, all we are offered is that her mother was once a princess and her dad an emir. And thanks to her mother and their Master she is well educated. Her best quality is her desire to learn and when she realizes she is an important part in a plot of conspiracy and knowledge she decides to be the one to rule her destiny. Annemarie Banks has done a wonderful job creating a story where fantasy, adventure, historical romance and history collide in perfect harmony. You won't get tired of anything, you won't even want to stop reading... it's seriously impossible to want to put down the book when all you desire is to know what's going to happen next, what is Nadira going to learn or understand next. The love part of this book is well developed too, in case you were wondering and since I don't want to spoil anything I'm just going to say that everything happens at the right time and in the right moment. No rush, no craziness. And the setting is perfectly described: I'm from Spain and I've read tons of books about Barcelona during the Inquisition and I have to say that Annemarie did her homework really well. Thanks for that, Annemarie! I loved reading your descriptions of not only places but also people: they were real (which means they weren't always nice but accurate) and they helped me to create the Barcelona this book needed. My recommendation? Go and buy it, once at home make a hot beverage and s
TPetriella More than 1 year ago
Annmarie Banks has done a wonderful job giving the backstory of Nadira and Lord Montrose. I found myself becoming more and more immersed in the story line page after page. In the beginning there is a lot of information involving Nadira and her master, it feels like it takes a little time to get moving but once Montrose comes and kidnaps her it becomes a little more exciting. The details involving the different way of life in 1409 was exceptional and all I could think of was that I was glad I didn’t live back then. The most detailed description was of when Nadira is flying after taking the elixir and reads from the book. The exquisite way that Nadira was describing how she felt during these times was wonderful and I could pull of images of what she said every time. I cheered when once again and again that Montrose found her. It just seemed right for these two characters to find some type of common ground between the 2 of them as they could teach so much to each other about life. Nadira especially because of her own perceptions, I felt that I could relate very well to her. This is a very good story and I look forward to the next installment of this series. I hope that all of the history fiction fans out there will read this at least once; I believe it will become a quick favorite.
Nicci-PaperDreams More than 1 year ago
From the moment I read the summary for this, I knew it was going to be an interesting read. I mean just the summary itself is completely intriguing. Still I was not sure exactly what I was expecting as I began reading this, and I am glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. From the historical and magical elements to the surprising romance, I found this to be thoroughly enjoyable. Nadira is definitely an unusual girl for her time period. She is very literate, speaking and writing several languages. I love how she defied expectations again and again. While she is fearful and scared at times, that never stops her from doing what she needs to do. She is such a strong person within. Montrose completely surprised me. At the start of the book, or at least his early part in it, I was not sure if I even liked him, but as the story went on I began to fall in love with him. There were so many fantastic side characters as well. Even if they just appeared for the briefest moment, every character was an individual. There were some elements that I was not completely happy with. For example, Nadira’s circumstances seemed repetitive at times, and Montrose was a bit sexist, but otherwise I was very pleased. My favorite element of the story was the relationship between Nadira & Montrose. It was rather unexpected, but an absolutely brilliant twist. The devleopment of it was perfectly timed and written. The friendships between Nadira and her various male companions throughout the story were also fantastic. The magical elements of the story were also very cool. I loved the idea and story surrounding them, although it was a bit confusing at first. Overall, I would definitely say this exceeded my expectations. Whether it is the sequel to this or something new, I will be looking forward to reading whatever the author writes next. I am excited that this will be a series though, because I completely fell in love with the characters! This was an interesting, compelling story with an unexpected romance. I would recommend this, especially to fans of fantasy and historical fiction.
NakedPagesBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Don't let the title of the book confuse or scare you off. `The Hermetica of Elysium' is the first book in the Elysium Texts Series, written by new author Annemarie Banks. For those who aren't familiar with the term `hermetica', it is a series of secret texts from various authors or teachers that contain and discuss ideas regarding philosophy, nature, and the divine, meant to enlighten those who read it. As the daughter of a fallen princess who was sold into slavery to a wealthy merchant, Nadira has learned many things. Chief among them is the ability to read, which is uncommon for most men in late 15th century Barcelona, even those who are born to a higher station. Taken against her will from the only home she has ever known in order to decipher a dangerous text, Nadira must accept her fate and trust that the men who have taken her will do her no harm. In the journey to avenge his brother's death, Lord Montrose has sworn to protect Nadira if she helps him translate the hermetica and stop it from falling into the wrong hands. What he didn't count on was falling in love with her. Together, Nadira and Lord Montrose must make the best of a number of bad situations in order to survive and fulfill their quest. Annemarie Banks has delivered a book rich in detail and history. The supernatural plot is enhanced by the historical details, but only if you like books that have a base in historical facts. I enjoyed the interwoven mystery and romance of the main characters, but really enjoyed all the other players as well. Nadira begins as a servant and blossoms into a powerful woman with exposure not only to her protector, but to those who can appreciate her unique gifts and help her world-view expand - her character is the most transformed throughout the book. I can't wait to see what new dangers the sequel will bring, and how they will affect Nadira's relationship with Lord Montrose. `The Hermetica of Elysium' is available for purchase December 8th, 2011 from Knox Robinson Publishing.
Ellie74 More than 1 year ago
Some books hold powers not everyone should be allowed to behold. This is particularly true of the Hermetica of Elysium, a forbidden book that has many influential groups, from knights to the Pope and the Holy Inquisition searching for it, fearful it might fall in the wrong hands. This is how at the end of the 15th century, in Spain, Nadira, a young Moor servant, gifted with the knowledge of many languages from Spanish to Moorish, to Hebrew and Greek, ends up thrown in a series of adventures. As she is the only one capable of reading the scriptures encrypted in many languages within the pages, her participation is invaluable. Her encounter with Brother Henry, rendered mad by the secrets the book holds, makes it clear to Nadira that her task is most likely going to be a difficult one. With Corti, a scholar and Brother William, a scribe, she will discover how far a book can take you, literally. She cannot however but attract the attention of the Holy Church who would like nothing more than burn her at the stake... Very-well written, fast paced, The Hermetica of Elysium is definitely a page-turner. It will entice lovers of adventure, of mystery, of historical fiction, even those in search of a good love story. Peopled with Knights, Black Friars, the Holy Inquisition, the Pope and the Knight Templar to name a few, The Hermetica of Elysium is a fascinating novel and a great beginning of a series. The reader is left wanting for more, eager to see what is going to happen next, waiting for all the questions to be finally answered. A must-read!
BoookUp More than 1 year ago
To be an educated woman in the 1400¿s was rare and the author has taken the opportunity to explore this by creating a well crafted book about a heroine who is above her peers. With the ability to speak in 6 languages and write in some of them, she's considered such a rarity that people are willing to kill for her. This is more than a historical story, it is a piece of fiction that has elements of drama, romance, and more, to create a story that will be enjoyed by all. I have to give four and half stars, because there was no warning that the story was ending, also, there was no warning that we were getting an excerpt of the next book. I received an ARC so it could possibly be changed once its published electronically and in paperback. Otherwise, it was a satisfying and riveting read from the author. ebook sent to BoookUp blogspot, review written by QueenBee
aprilnwright More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading The Hermetica of Elysium by Annmarie Banks and I thought it was fabulous! I typically read paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy novels -anything to help me turn off my brain and relax, so I was a bit leery of this when I found out it was ¿historical.¿ This book opens with the main character, a slave named Nadira interacting with another slave in the home of her master. Nadira is the daughter of an emir who was deposed. Her mother was a woman of means before the emir¿s fall from power and the subsequent slavery of his harem by the conquerors. Nadira¿s mother is disgusted by the new life she leads and ensures her daughter will have skills other than in the bedroom so Nadira is infamous for knowing multiple languages in a culture where people- especially women are uneducated. Events conspire to give her even more knowledge in an illiterate culture. A series of events has Nadira moving through multiple owners in search of a book called The Hermetica of Elysium. This book is purported to have magical properties and is sought by everyone in Europe with a leaning towards scholarship or a thirst for power. The first jump in owners is to an English Lord named Montrose who ends up getting more than he bargained for. As the story progresses Nadira learns more about the world around her, power, magic and herself. The thing that amazed me the most about this book was that I found the history interesting and totally pertinent to the story. I didn¿t feel like I was being ¿taught¿ something, but still ended up learning a lot about the history, culture and social aspects of the time. Had my history classes been more like this in school I would know more about Europe in the 1400s! I can¿t wait to read the next book in the series!