Category: Book
By (author): Hopkins, Ben
Subject:  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Gothic
  FICTION / Literary
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Europa Editions
Published: February 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 624
Size: 8.50in x 5.50in x 2.09in

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

A thoroughly immersive read and a remarkable feat of imagination,Cathedral tells a sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire in gripping prose. It deftly combines historical fiction and a tale of adventure and intrigue.

At the center of this story is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 13th and 14th centuries in the Rhineland town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. From the bishop to his treasurer to local merchants and lowly stonecutters, everyone, even the town's Jewish denizens, is implicated and affected by the slow rise of Hagenburg's Cathedral, which in no way enforces morality or charity.  Around this narrative center, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise.

Fans of Umberto Eco, Hilary Mantel, and Ken Follett will delight at the atmosphere, the beautiful prose, and the vivid characters of Ben Hopkins'sCathedral.

"Cathedral is a brilliantly organised mess of great, great characters. It is fascinating, fun, and gripping to the very end."-Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author ofPaddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Review Quote*

★ "A thoroughly engrossing, beautifully told look at human frailty."-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

★ "Ambitious and satisfying [ . . . ] Six-hundred pages sounds long, but this deeply human take on a medieval city and its commerce and aspirations, its violent battles and small intimacies, never feels that way. This sweeping work is as impressive as the cathedral at its center."-Publishers Weekly(Starred Review)

★ "Ben Hopkins's epic historical novel is the riveting story of the lives and motivations of cathedral builders [ . . . ] Rich, moving, and unforgettable, it exposes the vanity inherent in trying to make a mark on history and exalts the power of love, creativity, and truth to leave a meaningful trace on this ephemeral world."-ForeWord Reviews(Starred Review)

★ "An expansive fictional epic addressing themes of art, religion and power in the mode of Ken Follett or Umberto Eco [ . . . ] Hopkins's compelling and descriptive tale will leave readers eager for more."-Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)

"Cathedral [includes] humor, a huge cast of narrators (15), and a clear fascination with the widest range of human behavior."-Jane Ciabattari,Literary Hub

"Comparisons are inevitable to Ken Follett's bestselling book about the building of a cathedral,The Pillars of the Earth. Hopkins's debut is the superior: beautifully written and profoundly insightful about its very human characters and their yearning for both God and Mammon."-Antonia Senior,The Times (UK), Book of the Month

"Cathedral is an ambitious epic [ . . . ] A rich, occasionally bewildering array of characters peoples its pages [ . . . ] Their stories interweave to create a memorable tapestry of politics, religion and conflicting human desires."-The Sunday Times (UK)

"A varied cast of hugely engaging characters jostle for status, rising and falling according to the whims of pirates and Popes. An immersive, old-fashioned read that rattles along at a cracking pace."-Richard Beard, author ofLazarus is Dead and The Day That Went Missing

"The design and construction of a lofty Medieval cathedral over the course of a century brings together a vast array of characters in a tale of ambition, obsession, desire, vanity and power."-USA Today

"Hopkins surrounds us with people who share our irresistible attraction to physical beauty and the charisma of power, the often prickly comforts of faith, and greed, lust, hunger, illusion, personal love: all that makes us human, regardless of place and time."-Jean Huets,The Historical Novel Society

"Superbly crafted, visually and emotionally vibrant, filled with strong, relatable characters, and so engaging that, even at over six hundred pages, I was sorry when it came to an end."-Kristine Morris, ForeWord Reviews

"Hopkins admits to having enjoyed writingCathedral immensely, and this is evident in the compassion, humour, pathos and sheer vivacity of a novel which signals the arrival of a bright new talent on the historical fiction stage."-Sarah Bower, The Historical Novel Society

"I haven't been able to put it down! It's such a great read and contains so much! Politics and religion, the birth of an artistic sensibility, the rise of global trade, sassy women, fascinating and original characters."-Alison Finch, BBC Radio 4

"To a dedicated historical fiction reader, [Cathedral is] heaven [ . . . ] It is a rich tapestry with a satisfying substance full of historical detail, personal insight, individual tragedy and triumph. Any reader of historical fiction should greatly enjoy this book, but anyone who loves a multi-generational saga with plenty of sex and violence will also find it gratifying [ . . . ] a compelling read."-Eric Boss, MPIBA

Biographical Note

Ben Hopkins is a screenwriter, film-maker and novelist. He has lived in London and Istanbul and now lives in Berlin. His films include features and shorts, fiction and documentary, and have won awards at festivals such as Berlin, Locarno, Antalya and Toronto Hot Docs.