Category: Romance, Sagas & Historical / General
Publication date: 6 May 2004
Number of pages: 672
Set in Reformation Europe, Q begins with Luther's nailing of his 95 theses on the door of the cathedral church in Wittenberg. Q traces the adventures and conflicts of two central characters: an Anabaptist, a member of the most radical of the Protestant sects and the anarchists of the Reformation, and a Catholic spy and informer, on their thrilling journey across Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The four young writers who shelter behind the pseudonym Luther Blissett have created a world of intrigue, violence and intense political and religious passion. Far from the traditional example of historical fiction, Q is the stuff of which cults are made.
Luther Blissett used to play for Watford, before being bought by AC Milan in the 1980s to ply his trade in Italy. He was, without doubt, the worst player ever to make such a trip. Since then, his name has been appropriated by the Luther Blissett project, a group of Italian nihilists - revolutionaries, artists, poets, performers, writers and squatters. The book was written by four members of the project, who have since revealed their individual identities, and has already achieved cult status and vast sales on the continent. Is it, as the publishers claim, a historical, literary thriller in the tradition of The Name of the Rose, is it a revolutionary view of the Reformation as a workers' uprising, or is it simply a situationist prank? In some senses, it is all three. It begins with Martin Luther pinning his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral at Wittenberg, but swiftly moves on to a game of cat and mouse set against the bloody background of the Reformation. A rebellious member of an extreme Protestant group, closer to workers' revolutionaries than conventional history might allow, is hunted down by Papist agents as they traverse a Europe suffering from religious wars, Papal corruption and political in-fighting of the bloodiest kind. The battle begins as a personal struggle but erupts into a battle of ideas of the most fundamental kind. A structure which hops forwards and backwards in time helps keep the concentration and occasionally betrays the multiple-author arrangement, but this is an extraordinary and vivid book, rich with ideas and passion. Imaginative, bold and full of verve, it deserves to be the big literary hit of the summer. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"It bracingly reanimates an era of frenzy that longed to burn the world clean" The Guardian "The mud and blood, visions and ideals of 16th-century Europe come back to gruesome, glorious life" The Independent "Big and bloody and breathtaking: a crush of colour and crowds, exotic locations and war." The Times "Imagine Umberto Eco's knack for the swashbuckling thriller-of-ideas crossed with an artful touch of the Le Carr's - it boasts pace, colour, excitement and suspense to spare- Q works like a charm as a sordid, splendid period romp." Independent "If ever there was a novel that deserved to win prizes, accolades and plaudits, it is Q - A rich, inventive and immensely powerful book - Q is a great novel, one that tells us about ourselves and how we came to be here." Scotland on Sunday
The former Watford and AC Milan striker Luther Blissett had nothing to do with the writing of this book. The real authors of Q live in Bologna.
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