Put that aside, I got to admit the storyline is compelling.
It starts with the murder of a university professor in the US and the bombing of a church in Oxford, England. Our Narrator, Emily Wess – a professor at the same university as the murder victim – is about to take a few days break with her boyfriend over Thanksgiving when her plans are abruptly changed by a letter from the dead man and a plane ticket to the UK. This complex thriller involves a political plot in the US and the ancient library at Alexandria which may or may not have been destroyed in ancient times. Knowledge is power and Emily finds herself taking part in a race against time to stop it falling into the wrong hands and putting the whole world at risk.
The strongest point of the book is the great accuracy of the historical facts, especially the details about the ancient Royal Library of Alexandria, that were very vivid and fascinating.
Founded at the behest of Ptolemy II Philadelphus some time in the early third century BC, its endowment and rapid expansion appear to have been part of the new regime's intention to create a glory and legacy for Egypt that even the earlier Pharaohs had not managed. Linking ancient religion, philosophy, science and the arts, the Library became a storehouse for wisdom the world over - and the charter, perhaps dating to the reign of Ptolemy III, for its librarians to confiscate the written works of all visitors to the city so that they could be copied and entered into the collection, is a genuine part of the Library's remarkable history. The Royal Library became the ancient world's great centre of learning, with its librarians including men whose names continue to inspire historians and scholars (e.g. Apollonius of Rhodes, Eratosthenes, Aristophanes of Byzantium). No one really knows how large the Library eventually became.
The various theories discussed in the book regarding the destruction and disappearance of the Library are all genuine hypotheses entertained by scholars today. The once-popular belief that the Library burned during the attack by Caeser in 48 BC is impossible, given that ancient documents give evidence of its on-going existence much later. The two possibilities explored - namely, the sack of the city by Amr ibn al'Aas around AD 642, and the destruction of Pagan centres of learning in Alexandria by Patriarch Theophilus in the fourth century AD - are the most popular hypotheses amongst scholars today; but the disappearance of the once-great Library does, indeed, remain one of the great mysteries of antiquity. All that can be known for certain is that by the sixth century, it is simply a non-entity in the historical record.
If interested, here are some links pertaining to the fate of the library :
- The Mysterious Fate of the Great Library of Alexandria
[ http://www.bede.org.uk/library.htm ]
- The Foundation and Loss of the Royal and Serapeum Libraries of Alexandria
[ http://www.bede.org.uk/Library2.htm ]
|The new Bibliotheca Alexandrina in modern-day Egypt|
After reading it, just make me wanna visit the library.