” Signum” is the first novel by José Guadalajara, a prestigious researcher of the myth of the Antichrist in the Middle Ages. Set in 15th century Toledo, when the coming of the Antichrist and the proximity of the end of the world become an authentic obsession…
There are many who, since ancient times, have captured on paper the sensations inspired by the monumental Toledo. Insignes writers like Bécquer or Blasco Ibáñez, left us remarkable writings on very different aspects of the city.
Nowadays, an infinite number of books, some of which we review in these pages speak of their monuments, history or legends.
“Signum“, by José Guadalajara, edited by the “Factoría de Ideas”, comes to fill the gap that was missing in the narrative of the “toledana” theme. A historical novel of love, crimes and prophecies in apocalyptic times, intimately related to the Toledo of the 15th century.
We read in his synopsis: “The coming of the Antichrist and the proximity of the end of the world become a real obsession in the first half of the fifteenth century. In this environment, there is a bloody series of murders over which hangs an absolute mystery.
The search for the key of the signs of a sphere drawn on a parchment that accompanies the testament of King Henry III, the grandfather of Elizabeth the Catholic, moves the steps of the protagonist of this novel, a Franciscan friar of the convent of Sancti Spiritus.
His life is a constant evolutionary whirlwind that drags him from his passions as a young man in love to his definitive profession of faith and his incursion into the frenetic world of prophecy”.
The quality narrative is faithfully reflected in this work. Far from the historicist conventions and extreme fiction to which hundreds of “historical novels” that come from Anglo-Saxon countries and of which numerous examples we all know in recent years, we see in “Signum” the quality of José Guadalajara, doctorate in Hispanic Philology with an interesting thesis on the Antichrist and his influence on medieval society. He is therefore an expert in this subject matter, which we see reflected in this work.
” Signum“, places us in Toledo, in its old fortress, where King Henry III died, whom History also knows as “the Suffering One”, and while the 1406 Courts were being held in the city, with the assistance of all the kingdom’s procurators, the monarch agonized and died on 25 December. Immediately, the name of a new king was proclaimed by its streets to the cry of “Castile, Castile by King Don Juan!
A few years later, in June 1411, Fray Vicente Ferrer, the famous preacher, arrived in Toledo. He came mounted on his donkey and followed by multitudes, among them some three hundred flagellants who lacerated their backs with force until they plucked up bloody pieces of meat.
He preached in the cathedral, but since the temple was too small for him because of the countless people, he had to do it outside the city walls, in the place where in those years “the wood was sold”, as the Chronicle of King John II refers…
José Guadalajara, has given life again in Signum to this fascinating Toledo of the first half of the fifteenth century. It is now when the coming of the Antichrist and the proximity of the end of the world become a real obsession. In the novel there follows a bloody series of murders over which hangs an absolute mystery…
I’m sure you’ll also be interested in: “El Efebo”, by Joaquín Pérez-Mínguez
- José Guadalajara
- Original title: Signum
- Author: José Guadalajara
- Publication date: November 2004
- Format: 23 x 15,5 cms.
- Binding: Paperback with flaps
- Pages: 400
- Price: 19.95 €
- ISBN: 84-9800-084-X
- Collection: MAESTRA LINE Nº: 2
- Genre: Historical novel
- Read an excerpt from the book: http://www.distrimagen.es/catalogo/extras/basico/lfl20002av.pdf