My first novel, “Canticle” was launched in the Irish Writers Centre in May, 2018 . The eminent novelist Anthony Glavin generously agreed to launch the book, which seemed fitting, as he was one of the judges of the IWC/Greenbean Novel Fair 2016 who nominated “Canticle” a winner that year.
Since then, “Canticle” has received excellent reviews. The Historical Novel Society, in its quarterly publication Historical Novel Review, named it an Editor’s Pick in February, 2019. Kristen McQuinn’s review gave the book high praise:
“The characters, every one of them, have depth and life… The central theme of what truth is, both in politics and within the Church, remains so relevant today that this is a difficult novel to put down… The complexity of the politics involved, the careful layering of the plot and the unfolding events, make this a novel that you will want to savor… Very highly recommended.”
If you would like to read Kristen’s full review, you can find it here: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/canticle/
Mairéad Hearne of bookblog Swirl and Thread gave “Canticle” another glowing review, especially liked the main character:
“Fray Martín de Sepúlveda is a wonderful character, reminding me of C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake. His determination to uncover the truth, his strong principles, his unshakable morals, his cynicism and his overall personality make him the perfect detective for the time… [Canticle] is an intelligent and engrossing read about a very fascinating period of history. Liz McSkeane has created a superb character in Fray Martín and I do hope that he continues his detective work in a future novel.”
You can read Mairéad’s full review of “Canticle” on her Swirl and Thread blog here: http://www.swirlandthread.com/canticle-liz-mcskeane/
“Canticle” is an historical novel set in Renaissance Spain, inspired by the poetry and the life of the sublime mystic poet, St. John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz, 1542 – 1591). His writing is as well-known in Spain as Shakespeare is in the English-speaking world and in fact, he was a near-contemporary of Shakespeare.
“Canticle” is also a detective story. It follows the trials of a cynical Dominican friar who gets the job of investigating some of the mysteries of San Juan’s life – he lived in turbulent times, when religious orders were as enmeshed in politics as our political parties are today. The investigator, Fray Martín, is ordered to search for the lost manuscripts of San Juan’s poems, especially his “Cántico Espiritual” – the Canticle – hence, the title of the book
If you would like to buy “Canticle”, head over to https://turaspress.ie/shop/canticle-by-liz-mcskeane/ and/or check out where you can find out independent bookstores where the book is on sale. You’ll find a list on the Turas Press website here: https://turaspress.ie/our-stockists/
And if you’d prefer to read it on your ebook reader, the good news is that “Canticle” will be available as an ebook by mid-March, 2020!
I developed a fascination with San Juan’s life and work when I read him as a student of French and Hispanic Studies at Glasgow University, way back in the mists of time…so researching and writing this novel really was a labour of love. I hope people who read “Canticle” will become as intrigued by this strange and wonderful person, and his poetry, as I am myself.
I spent many happy hours in the Sala Cervantes of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, researching the times, poring over 400-year-old manuscripts (not San Juan’s originals, sadly, which really are lost).
If you have already read “Canticle” – thank you for your interest and support. If you’d like to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon UK or USA, you will find the links here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40275383-canticle
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