It's time for one of my favorite ways to learn about new-to-me books to read, which also means that it's time for me to start hearing The Who singing "Who Are You?" in my head.
This time, I'm not a female character. I am Arthur Prescott, a professor at the University of Barchester in England in Charlie Lovett's wonderful The Lost Book of the Grail. Here's a synopsis of the book:
"Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasingly, he feels like a fish out of water among the concrete buildings of the University of Barchester, where he works as an English professor. His one respite is his time spent nestled in the library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail and researching his perennially unfinished guidebook to the medieval cathedral.
But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives in Barchester charged with the task of digitizing the library’s manuscripts, Arthur’s tranquility is broken. Appalled by the threat modern technology poses to the library he loves, he sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit with a similar love for knowledge and books—and a fellow Grail fanatic.
Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, the ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral’s founder. And when the future of the cathedral itself is threatened, Arthur and Bethany’s search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the Grail, and about themselves."
Arthur is a curmudgeon, and I can be, too. Arthur is obsessed with the Holy Grail, and when I was in college, I was rather obsessed with King Arthur and "all that jazz," too. As Arthur, my favorite place is the library of an ancient cathedral amongst its priceless manuscripts, and I can see that being one of my favorite places, too. Arthur and I share so many likes and dislikes that it makes reading this book an absolute delight-- almost as though I'm actually living the action in the book as I read.
Add to my affinity with Arthur the finding of a kindred spirit, the cathedral and its manuscripts coming under threat, the search for a lost manuscript, and the breaking of a code, and I'm in heaven. And I haven't even told you about some of the best parts of this book! (You'll have to wait for my review.)
Yes indeed, I am enjoying my stint as Arthur Prescott. Being inside the skin of a grumpy English male professor doesn't seem strange at all. And after all this, there's only one question I must ask:
Who are you?
I'd really like to know! And please don't forget to tell us the title of the book so we can all add it to our wish lists!