The Second Sleep

The Second Sleep

Book - 2019
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"From the internationally best-selling author of Fatherland and the Cicero Trilogy--a chilling and dark new thriller unlike anything Robert Harris has done before. 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artifacts--coins, fragments of glass, human bones--which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes--about himself, his faith, and the history of his world--will be tested to destruction"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525656692
0525656693
Branch Call Number: FICTION Har
Description: 297 pages ; 24 cm

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1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artifacts, which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death? Fairfax becomes determined to discove... Read More »


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Galvinator
Mar 22, 2020

Robert Harris has written many interesting books that I have enjoyed. Some of them weave fictional characters into historical events and periods. Others weave fictional characters into “what if” historical periods, like “what if the pre-WWII English fascists and appeasers had prevailed and England had become a vassal state of Nazi Germany.” These have been interesting and thought provoking. Since I understood the historical events/periods, I appreciated how Mr. Harris took off from reality into fiction.

But I didn’t find “The Second Sleep” very good. The concept sounded interesting, but the execution failed.

“The Second Sleep” is a fictional look at “what if” some apoclyptic event has happened and humanity is living at 17th century technology levels again, after hundreds of bad years. And “what if” the event was thought to be a fulfillment of End Times prophecies in the Bible. Since I have studied the Biblical prophecies, I looked unsuccessfully for how this fiction might fit with them. Alas, the connections didn’t seem to be there. I thought the book might end with some clue to that, but it felt to me as if the last key 50 pages got left on the printing room floor.

The book raises scary implications about how frail we’ve become as a society. With folks so urbanized, dependent upon technology, unskilled in basic things like farming, carpentry and such, and with global “just in time” supply chains. One big “burp” like a solar flare, pandemic, EMP explosion, nuclear war, etc. and we’re back to the pre-industrial world with 1/10th of the population. No toilet paper, bottled water or Purell to worry about. No electricity or gasoline.

The book presents the inherent problem of humanity- a predilection to sin, corrupting many of the fictional characters and institutions in both the imaginary world of this book and the real world of today. But it doesn’t suggest where the solution to that might be found.

ontherideau Mar 14, 2020

What would future civilizations think of our way of life- food shipped from afar, money and knowledge stored in virtual space? This book is thought provoking. I'd love to know more about the ending.

j
JimMurley
Mar 02, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed Harris' writing acumen; however, this novel seem to end rather abruptly.
Perhaps that is the intended effect of dystopian fiction? I loved his Roman novels and now will try his other books.

m
Mabemery
Jan 19, 2020

Great begining - disappointed with the ending.

g
gordpowers
Jan 12, 2020

Really didn’t live up to my expectations

t
tjdickey
Jan 02, 2020

Genre-bending work from one of the strongest writers of historical fiction and speculative alternate histories around - speculative, atmospheric in word choice, deeply reflective about faith and technology and received wisdom.

h
hamerkop
Dec 21, 2019

This novel displays the literary talents of this well-read author. Drawing on the wealth of western literature, the author relies upon universal themes and motifs to polish his narrative. However, the ending does not rise to the level of the rest of this novel.

u
uncommonreader
Dec 20, 2019

The premise and first two-thirds of this book are brilliant, but I thought that the author did not, in the end, know where to go with his story. Very well written.

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