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The second sleep
2019
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Summary
From the international bestselling author of Fatherland and Munich , a gripping mystery and a fascinating cautionary tale.

"All civilizations consider themselves invulnerable; history warns us that none is."

1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote English village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts--coins, fragments of glass, human bones--which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?

As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes--about himself, his faith and the history of his world--is tested to destruction.
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Booklist Review
In Wessex, England, ""the year of our Risen Lord 1468,"" Father Thomas Lacy takes a deadly fall from the Devil's Chair, a mysterious ruin left by heretical ancients. Dispatched to tend to Lacy's burial, young priest Christopher Fairfax must extend his stay in the remote village after debris from a storm obstructs roads. Fairfax sees it as a sign from God; he discovered an illegal set of The Proceedings and Papers of the Society of Antiquaries in Father Lacy's library and is torn between obedience and the desire to investigate Lacy's heresy. Lacy's library reveals a shocking contradiction to the church's teachings that the ancients were eliminated by an apocalypse meant to punish their idolatrous craving of scientific knowledge. Lacy hid a letter from Dr. Peter Morgenstern, an ancient physicist who predicted technology's role in modern society's demise and hinted at a plan for preserving advanced scientific knowledge. As Fairfax begins to question orthodoxy, so does the reader: Is this an alternative history set in the future, not the past? Fairfax, clearly a better detective than a pastor, finds fellow questioners in Lady Sarah Durston, Captain Hancock, and a pair of heretical antiquarians. Fueled by mounting evidence that Morgenstern's stash of ancient technology is buried at the Devil's Chair, they develop a plan to excavate right under the church's authoritarian nose. Set against a neo-Dark Ages England, Fairfax's innocent truth-seeking is a thought-provoking lens through which to view this tale of murder and obsession. Strongly recommended for book groups.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This could be Harris' biggest hit since Fatherland (1992); film rights have already been sold for a multipart TV series.--Christine Tran Copyright 2019 Booklist
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