They say, whoever “they” are, that good things come in threes. In the world of fiction, good things often come in trilogies, but they also come in fours, fives, or even greater numbers. This week, we’ll look at books in series that give readers the chance to enjoy characters over the course of three, or more, books.
We’ll begin with Canadian novelist Robertson Davies. Davies is known for his elegant writing style and his wonderful characters. He does not disappoint in this series starter. Rebel Angels is the first novel in Davies’s Cornish Trilogy, followed by What’s Bred in the Bone and The Lyre of Orpheus. Here, Francis Cornish, a collector of manuscripts and paintings and a promoter of Canadian artists, dies. Three competing scholars, professors at the College of St. John and the Holy Spirit, are named executors of his estate, along with Cornish’s nephew, banker Arthur Cornish. A Rabelais manuscript in the collections goes missing; the professors compete for the attentions of the beautiful and gifted graduate student Maria Theotoky; and much of the plot turns on the return to the college of the disgraced scholar and former monk, John Parlabane. Who would think medieval literature, gnostic religion, and details of gypsy violin making could be this much fun? Sharp tongues and eccentric behavior abound in another excellent novel from one of Canada’s great authors.
Check the WRL catalog for Rebel Angels