Ex Libris

Ex Libris cover.Ex Libris is a perfectly interesting little novel by Ross King about a bookseller in 1660s London — just a scant few years before the Great Fire, I realized about halfway through, which gave a new dimension to the narrator’s description of the London which he knew — covertly hired by a noblewoman to recover the more esoteric elements of her father’s library, plundered by Cromwell’s men.

That’s all well and good. It’s a serviceable story that seems to serve more as a framework on which to hang delving into the Restoration, Cromwell, Rupert II and other interesting figures of the period.

However — and this is a spoilery however, so we’re going to make a leap behind a cut to prevent giving the book’s ending away — I think we can all agree that the ending of Ex Libris is pretty much that of The Name of the Rose with water in place of fire, right down to a secret piece of knowledge that cannot be allowed to surface because of who wrote it and what it means to the establishment of the time.


About Tyler

In the wilds of Vermont.
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