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The  Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett

I had the pleasure of attending one of our many events that featured a second, equally as enjoyable presentation from Charlie Lovett at the movie theater next door. Not only did my brother and I partake in an energetic  introduction of the famous Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but we listened to Lovett discuss his novel The Lost Book of the Grail, grail lore, and the historical events connected, in an equally energetic and entertaining manner. As I personally have interest in the Arthurian time period and the various myths and legends of the era, I was immediately drawn to The Lost Book of the Grail  (Plus, I could watch that Monty Python movie on a loop and never get sick of it). Also, as a bookseller and writer myself, I thoroughly enjoy hearing the passionate yammering of an author on just about any subject. The intelligence of Lovett is astounding, as he has spent so much time on research, has a passion for history, is an antiquarian by heart, and just loves being involved in history and the book world.

The passion he exuded during his book talk definitely translates directly into this novel. As I read on, I could see how his main character, Arthur Prescott, reflects aspects of Lovett's personality, mainly in his interest in antiques, historic sites like the fictional English town of Barchester, as well as his general intellect. There are three general sections blended into this novel: 1. Arthur's story, set in 2016, 2. nine-year-old Edward's story, set in 1941, and 3. excerpts from A Visitor's Guide To Barchester Cathedral, Arthur's book. We start out in 1941 following Edward as a young choir boy, helping to desperately save the items held in the cathedral library as the fire bombers attack. He is drawn to a particular volume and tucks it safely away from the burning building and the massive pile of syphoned manuscripts; though he is beat to retrieving it by a suspicious figure who slinks away in the shadows during the commotion. We then jump to modern day Barchester, when Arthur Prescott is giving us doses of invigorating intellectual explorations of the cathedral, as well as comical conversations with grumpy modern-day university staff.

As far as story progresses, the plot speeds up into the main character's crusade, pulling each of the sections together. It is well-paced and driving with aspects of an abundance of genres including thrill, comedy, romance, adventure, and more. The quest that Arthur finds himself taking with his beautiful lady companion is, as Bustle critiques, "the one book every bibliophile needs to read.... in the spirit of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or The Da Vinci Code" (cover). If you are looking for a new adventure to join, sometimes the oldest myths make the best expeditions.

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