The Dance of Death
Luther Blissett 1999 768p 6 x 9
1517 Martin Luther nails his ninety-five theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral, and a dance of death begins between a radical Anabaptist with many names and a loyal papal spy, known mysteriously as ‘Q.’ In this brilliantly conceived historical thriller set in the chaos of the Reformation–an age devastated by wars of religion–a young theology student adopts the cause of heretics and the disinherited and finds himself pursued by a relentless papal informer and heretic-hunter. What begins as a personal struggle to reveal each others’ identities becomes a mission that can only end in death.
Luther Blisset is the pen name of four italian writers who collectively wrote Q and later became Wu Ming.
While this book is easily one of the best english-language texts on this era of revolt, it sadly contains a lot of misogyny. Some have argued that the book uses the peasant revolts of the Reformation to tell the story of Italy in the 1970s–which the authors lived through–and that the book accurately reflects the misogyny of that time. While sexism was certainly a part of both periods (historically, the Muenster revolt collapsed because of the treatment of women insurgents), at times the misogyny of Q reads more like the fantasy of the male authors than a critique of it.