Fiction Jan De Hartog The Centurion: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060390945

The Centurion: A Novel

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9780060390945: The Centurion: A Novel
From Publishers Weekly:

Martinus Harinxma is now retired from the sea, but the story he narrates here is as exciting as the bestselling The Captain and The Commodore (in which he featured as protagonist), and certainly more wondrous. Prodded by his wife and inspired by T. S. Eliot's line, "Old men ought to be explorers," Martinus takes up dowsing, finds he has a gift for it and, being a Roman history enthusiast, swings a pendulum over a long trail of Roman remains, largely in Britain. In the process he deserts linear time and becomes, or seems to become, a Roman centurion in the turbulent fourth century A.D. who is following in the footsteps of his son, a praepositus (colonel) ordered to put down a savage Welsh uprising. The story swings between the contemporary world and a vividly re-created former era, exploring the mysterious bond of fatherhood and the enigma of life itself. De Hartog is a dowser, and his elegantly told and historically knowledgeable story has a psychic dimension that transcends the fiction genre. It's a spellbinding novel, a tour de force combination of mystical exploration and compelling narrative drive.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Martinus Harixma refuses to dedicate his retirement from a captain's life at sea to "boozing and snoozing." Dowzing, however, is something else. "Old men," he quotes from T.S. Eliot, "ought to be explorers," and Martinus, a conservative, skeptical realist, cannot resist the challenge of the paranormal. He dowzes not for water or oil but for 4th-century Rome. There he discovers and tries to comprehend the life a centurion whose views and experiences disconcertingly resemble his own. Alternating chapters record the adventures of Martinus and his quarry, each vibrant and suspenseful (though some readers--certainly this one--may weary of the question-and-answer exchanges between Martinus and his dowzing pendulum). De Hartog is a first-rate story teller, which inclines one to forgive the tedious and sentimental quasi-mysticism that at last overwhelms his often witty and wise old tar.
- Arthur Waldhorn, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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