I have recently become a subscriber to the online magazine Christ and Pop Culture. In addition to the very good articles, subscribers have access to a private Facebook group. At this point, as much as I like the magazine and want to support good content with my subscription, the Facebook group is more important to my continued subscription.
One of the topics a few weeks ago was the ever popular, “what are your favorite books you read this year”. Seth Hahne, the primary illustrator at Christ and Pop Culture (and author and illustrator of Monkness the Homunculus) recommended Eifelheim. I was looking for something different and picked it up.
Eifelheim is an odd book. It is a very detailed and well researched book about 14th century Germany. It is also a first contact story (aliens crash-land on Earth). And it takes very seriously the Christian faith of the 14th century Germans. This is not a Christian book, but it is one that uses the fictional setting to think seriously about what it means to be human, what love of neighbor looks like, the problem of evil, and a variety of other theological and moral issues.
The story gets a bit bogged down in some of the 14th century story lines. But it did keep my attention well for most of the book. One thing to note is that there is a lot of German, Latin and a few others languages thrown in. The audiobook handles those fairly well for my untrained ear, but several other reviewers at Audible complained about the German. Because I alternated back and forth between kindle and audiobook I was able to see some of the written language that helped to make sense of some of the audio. I liked the audio, but if I had had this book as audio only (instead of both audio and print) I might have recommended it as a print only book.