I was drawn to this book as it was a little out of my comfort zone; with a historical figure I’m not too familiar with and the story exploring concepts such as digital technology which is not my forte! An ambitious project based in Amman, Jordan is aiming to digitalize the world’s written works.
As part of the project, the unpublished works of 16th Century Italian genius and rebel philosopher Giordano Bruno are being studied. However the research is halted by death of a priest and the theft of the precious manuscripts and two experts are bought in and thrown together to unravel an age-old secret that has severe consequences for the modern day.
Not being familiar with the life and works of Giordano Bruno, I really enjoyed how the story delves into the past and explores his life and how his works and ideas became both prized and reviled. The two main characters (in the modern day parts) I found very hard to feel for and to me, they were just a means as to unravelling the ultimate mystery. The other characters around them I felt were very well depicted and ultimately served a similar purpose which glued the story together.
The idea about digitalising all written words works was a fascinating one, and I have no idea if this is an actual occurrence or an educated glimpse into the future. The way the big corporation that have taken on the mammoth digitalization task and the various roles within their hierarchy were depicted within the tale seemed quite realistic to me and it was a great frame with which to underpin the rest of the novel.
Overall I found the prose to be fairly slow paced, when usually these kinds of novels are all fast action and quick thinking, but I believe the slower, more refined way the scenes played out much better suited this story in my opinion, making it a more sophisticated and thoughtful mystery than others of this kind.
I’m not going to profess to understand everything in this book, as some of the religious parts were a little hard for me to follow at times, but the mix of religion, history and philosophy teamed with meticulous research and modern writing made this a story I had to see through to the end.
The Tower is a cleverly crafted mystery novel with a slow built intrigue that will keep you turning pages to a satisfying ending.