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“The Book of Skulls ”

Written on: 14/02/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

The Book of Skulls

Robert Silverberg

The Manhattan Jew Eli found THE BOOK OF SKULLS in a Columbia University library. He and his three Harvard University mates, Timothy, Oliver, and Ned agree to head to Arizona where the monks reside who control the secrets of the tomb. The four know that two must die for two to gain immortality. They drive from New England for the southwest on a fifty-fifty chance of eternal life and youth.

In Arizona, the quartet meets the monks and become postulants in the monastery. They already know that three must murder one and one of the three must commit suicide for the other two to "pass" the test. As they reveal their inner secrets to one another each wonders will they die before they turn twenty-one or live as a twenty year old forever?

This is a reprint of a terrific early 1970s tale that once begun a reader cannot stop until the novel is finished. Robert Silverberg, before Valentine became a fantasy icon, provided a deep look at the human condition especially life and death in an early game of survivor. The storyline rotates viewpoint though purposely not equally so that the audience can see inside the soul of each participant. Interestingly Mr. Silverberg stereotypes his foursome also on purpose so that the reader must ponder even more so why.THE BOOK OF SKULLS remains a powerful glimpse at human desires.

Del Rey, Feb 2006, $12.95

ISBN: 0345471385

Harriet Klausner

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