Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Nadya? I wouldn't have recognized her."

When I agreed to a review copy of Alla Avilova's Revelation of Fire, I didn't realize that the basic plot was so similar to another book I recently read, People of the Book. This is also the tale of an ancient book and we learn of its history by hearing the stories of the hands through which the book passed. Luckily, the similarities ended there and this story was fresh and different.

The main characters of the story are a Dutch literature specialist and a Russian historian/librarian who find that a manuscript is missing from a Russian archive. They set about tracing it, both in modern times and in the past. The book, entitled "Revelation of Fire" is a Russian mystical text that originated in a monastery at the end of a line of mystical monks called Cenergites. The origins of the first Cenergite, Father Eularios, remain a mystery but the path of the book is actually followed from the sixteenth century to modern times.

This book was difficult to begin as the translation from Russian didn't always have the best flow or syntax. However, once I got going, the translation either got better or I stopped noticing. The mysticism and spiritualism in the book are based on many Eastern philosophies and are simple to understand and were thought-provoking. The analysis of solitude was quite interesting. The book also gives some brief insight into Russian history, relative to the Orthodox church, but this wasn't a main focus.

Dedicated to discovering my own philosophy,

Buy Revelation of Fire on Amazon or find it at your local library.

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