The Voyage of the Short Serpent

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9781585679201: The Voyage of the Short Serpent

Sent on an evangelical mission to discern the spiritual fates of the members of an Iceland colony who have severed communications with Europe, the abbot Montanus and his crew are horrified to discover that the colony's residents have embraced what appear to be primitive lives of depravity and excess.

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About the Author:

ISABEL HOVING was born in Amsterdam. She began her career as a secondary-school teacher, during which time she became very active in the Dutch women's movement. She eventually gave up her job to study literary theory full-time and spent some months in Senegal, West Africa, for a research project -- an experience that gave her a completely different perspective on the world and that she describes as a turning point in her life. Now a lecturer at Leiden University, Isabel Hoving lives with her partner and son in Amsterdam.

HESTER VELMANS has translated a number of novels from Dutch into English, including THE LILY THEATER by Lulu Wand and Renate Dorrestein's A HEART OF STONE, which won the Vondel Prize for Dutch Translation. In addition, she has contributed to her parents' wartime memoirs - EDITH'S STORY by Edith Velmans and LONG WAY BACK TO THE RIVER KWAI by Loet Velmans -- and has written a children's novel, ISABEL OF THE WHALES.

From Publishers Weekly:

A first-time novelist at 76, du Boucheron caused a literary sensation in France with this tale of a bishop's attempted reclamation of a medieval Scandinavian colony in Iceland. As the novel opens, Einar Sokkason, cardinal of Nidaros, learns that the Christian colony of New Thule has turned pagan. He dispatches Inquisitor Ordinary Bishop Insulomontanus to exorcise the colony with the aid of the stake, the wheel, the head vise, drawing and quartering, the slow hanging, and suspension from the feet or carnal parts. The bishop sets off peaceably in the company of the captain and crew of the Short Serpent, but as the Northern Sea freezes over, frostbite necessitates a few impromptu amputations. This turns out to be a prelude for what will come as the Serpent finally wends its way up the coast of the fjord, and the bishop is greeted by the curious colony of cannibals. Despite a competent translation, the cardinal and bishop's grave dictums are stilted, and the blood and gore titillate less than they bore. (Jan.)
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