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The Flowers of Evil    by Simon Acland order for
Flowers of Evil
by Simon Acland
Order:  USA  Can
Charlwood, 2011 (2011)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A sequel to The Waste Land, this work continues the adventures of Hugh de Verdun, crusader knight, as he makes his way through many adversities to avenge the loss of his love, Blanche. This 12th-century tale is, as in the original story, accompanied by the secondary plot of several dons from the fusty St. Lazarus' College, Oxford, whose pecuniary difficulties have been somewhat alleviated by the success of The Waste Land and who are looking for yet another commercial hit.

It is easier to jump into the crusader's story than into what is really happening at the College. The dons' tale is pretty thin to begin with, and the author, perhaps assuming everyone has read The Waste Land, provides little background on what happened to them in the first tale, which leaves a new reader with many unanswered questions. What is clear is that the author is having a lot of fun with many of the foibles of traditional academia.

Since we are not at the end of either Hugh's or the professors' tale, it is also clear that yet more adventures are to follow. Personally, I'm more interested in the 12th-century happenings because that part of the plot is concise and well presented, even with maps and a bibliography. The first-person narration is really good. It will take quite a bit more than that to make me understand and care about what is really going on with those stereotypical, no-name (History Don, Geography Fellow) professors.

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