dimanche 6 août 2017

The Adventurer

Although published 1950, some 67 years ago, this remains a fantastic read. I selected this as I wanted to understand how the reformation unfurled in Europe. This tells of Mikael Karvajalka (the original title in Finnish) translated as Michael Furfoot, born in Turku-Åbo, circa 1503, and who is orphaned after a Danish raid. He is then fostered by a middle-aged spinster who manages to secure him a scholarship with a priest and he rises up to become a tutor. However, he longs for ordination, but is denied this due to his being illegitimately born.

The period at the start of the book - which goes through ten chapters - is that of the Kalmar Union with the Danish King Christian at its head. Several bishops in Swedish-Finland and Sweden proper (notably in Stockholm) oppose Christian's reign and the Kalmar Union. As Michael reaches the end of his perfection of the mandatory Latin required to study further, still in his teens, it seems, he looks further afield with a desire to study at the Paris University, like many of the diocese prelates, the church a powerful institution in the country.

A strong supporter of King Christian, he is tasked as carrying a message to him in his excursion to Sweden to abate the opposition. The Finnish bishops and those ensonced behind Stockholm walls are asking for clemency and a pardon from him, realising he plans to suppress the movement. Michael thus, witnesses first hand the Stockholm Bloodbath, where Christian has invited all of the diocese noblery to a three day banquet and his promised their pardon. However, things turn strange, as the guests are locked in and the Papal archbishops decree the rebellious bishops guilty of heresy. The bishops (some say 80 in all) were immediately brought out into the square and beheaded, and some 200 ordinary Swedes hanged.

Thus begins Michael's adventures back to Swedish Finland and then through to Paris, Germany, Italy and Spain, as Luther's reforms catch on and Christian is overthrown as Sweden takes independence, breaks with the Kalmar Union, and the Pope. Waltari describes brilliantly medieval Europe and the religious conflicts and battles.

Michael's constant companion, Andy, from his home town is a mercenary solider and co-adventurer as we are taken through Germany, where Michael weds Barbara who is tried as a witch by the Catholic priests.

Still only 21 Michael, goes on to meet many eminent noblemen, emperors and even Dr. Luther and Pope Clement III in Italy, as the bloody battles over domains and hegemony are fought for. Michael is a truly machiavellian character.

The writing is amazing in its wide ranging vocabulary - the English translation is absolutely superb - and Waltari is renowned for his historical accuracy. He does have poetic licence and a wry sense of social observation, thus we enjoy quite a lot of satire over one Christian army versus another - both with God on their side - cut throats, courtesans, knights, monks, preachers and blackguards.

It is incredibly funny, yet deeply erudite with philosophical insight into the absurdity of religious dogma and the hypocrisies of both the Catholics, the Lutherans and the several shades of other Christian factions with plenty of castles, forts, petards, hangings and beheadings.

Timeless, well-written, as relevant today as in the sixteen century and above all, a thumping good story!

via International Skeptics Forum http://ift.tt/2wwVpKw

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire