Title: Balthazar's Odyssey
Authors: Maalouf, Amin
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 391
Year: 2002
Language: English
Description: At a time when doomsday is believed to be imminent, Genoese Levantine merchant, Balthasar Embriaco, is thrown by chance into a quest to find a mysterious book which, according to legend, contains the most secret name of God. He sets out on a journey from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean to London shortly before the Great Fire. His adventures and the people he befriends on his travels, make an entertaining read. [Small font]

Comments from Groups:

Well liked book with discussion mainly around the age in which it was set - travel, religion, culture etc. Fascinating connection between history and the present. Martinborough 003

A lively discussion about religion and faith in 1666. Christchurch 010

An unusual book enjoyed by all. Historical and geographical details much appreciated. Coromandel 001

There are so many layers and differing aspects, there was plenty to talk about, even by those who hadn't finished the book. Christchurch 277

It took a lot of reading time to devour...gave rise to discussion of plenty of interesting topics and though set in 17th century similar events are happening today with modern parallels. Motukarara 001

A bit hard going, some people gave up trying to finish. But those who did finish enjoyed it. It's an unusual book set in 17th century with themes of the apocalypse, religion and cultural mix. Whanganui 003

Categories: Fiction, Historical, Religion, Travel


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By: DUNED 072 2020-04-16 12:25:40
Very topical with predictions of the end of the world. A couple of members couldn't get into it, the rest were hooked... Interesting that one religious group was vilified.

By: TEPUK 006 2020-04-16 12:23:58
Mixed reactions. Most enjoyed the historical aspects and parallels with modern situations, but felt it could have done with more editing - it went on a bit!

By: CHCH 099 2020-04-16 12:22:18
Mixed reaction. Some found it boring while others loved the diary style. Thought it well-written. Some good discussion. Quite quirky!

By: AUCK 009 2020-04-16 12:21:06
None of us were quite sure what the point of it all was. We felt he could have explored the different religious beliefs - or their similarities - more deeply.

By: TEHORO 002 2020-04-16 12:18:43
Some members really enjoyed the cultural and religious questions posed in the novel and by the notes. Others found it "heavy going". However the book generated very lively discussion, so it was clearly engaging. Several said they would not have read the book if it had not been a book group choice, and were surprised by how much they enjoyed it.

By: RUSS 004 2020-04-16 12:15:14
We enjoyed this book which provoked a wide discussion.

By: MOTUE 001 2020-04-16 12:14:20
On the whole the book was a great success, but especially with the two men in our group, one of whom declared it the best book he'd ever read. He's determined to get his own copy!

By: NELS 044 2020-04-16 12:12:48
A mixed reaction to this book. Some loved it, others were disappointed that none of the questions posed were resolved.

By: LEITH 001 2020-04-16 12:11:57
Probably not one of the most enjoyable books for this group, however a very wide ranging and sometimes fiery discussion.

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