trans by Noël Baca Castex.
Delacorte Press/Random House: NY, 2007.
Originally published as Grimpow: El Camino Invisible by Montena: Spain, 2005.
To leave the oppressive atmosphere of his uncle's home in medieval France, Grimpow takes up with a petty thief and wanderer. Grimpow finds a dead traveler in the mountains, clutching a stone. The stranger also carries jeweled daggers, silver coins and a coded letter with a golden seal. He and his friend take their find to the nearby abbey for counsel. This opens a new world to Grimpow, of education and adventure. He becomes caught up in a quest for knowledge vs censorship. He joins a tradition of protecting the philosopher's stone and its secrets from the King of France and the current Pope. He must unravel the mystery in order to preserve the tradition, as the knowledge is in danger of disappearing with the last of the secret keepers.
The story has fantasy elements, but reads like a historical novel, incorporating the Crusades, the Knights Templar, alchemists, some old churches and scholars. Grimpow's traveling companions include a knight and a daughter of an artisan. It turns out they both are related to the secret society of alchemists, along with others they encounter. The mystery of the stone and an unknown treasure are the basis for much of the story.
The book is a delightful read. I enjoyed the clues and knowledgeable tidbits. It was nice to read something with a historical feel. It would appeal to the imaginative and adventurous.
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