An unforgettable fresco of a golden age in fourteenth-century Barcelona, Cathedral of the Sea is a thrilling historical novel of friendship and revenge, plague and hope, love and war.
Arnau Estanyol arrives in Barcelona to find a city dominated by the construction of the city’s great pride—the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar—and by its shame, the deadly Inquisition. As a young man, Arnau joins the powerful guild of stoneworkers and helps to build the church with his own hands, while his best friend and adopted brother Joanet studies to become a priest.
With time, Arnau prospers and falls secretly in love with a forbidden woman. But when he is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face-to-face with Joanet. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed, or will his brother save him?
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Medieval Spain's caste system can't keep a good man down in this absorbing epic, a Spanish-language bestseller. Arnau Estanyol, son of a fugitive peasant, starts out in 14th-century Barcelona as a lowly porter who carries stone blocks to a cathedral construction site and ends up a rich moneylender who saves the city from pillaging and frees the serfs of a barony he acquires by marriage. Alas, his dizzying social assent and defiance of the feudal order provoke enraged aristocrats his status-obsessed wife included into siccing the Inquisition on him. Arnau is a kindhearted, somewhat passive figure who combines piety, industry and cosmopolitanism to challenge a corrupt, dogmatic church and a parasitic nobility. The plot features thwarted romance, war, plague, immolations and self-immolations, set in a Machiavellian world ruled by privilege, cronyism and brute force. The melodrama is sometimes laid on thick, but Falcones's rich portrait of medieval society is fascinating.
Masterful depiction of pain and suffering surrounding the Cathedral of the Sea and Santa Maria. The characters were intricately woven and the story was brilliant.
Surprising and epic book
I really enjoyed reading this book as I knew next to nothing about Spanish gothic times. The book paints a very colorful picture about Barcelona in the 1300’s, and the characters are stoic and interesting, while also very well developed.
I couldn’t put it down!!!! Wonderful writing that grabs you from the beginning and all the way through to the end leaving you waiting more.