It ’ s central character is the Order of Saint Leibowitz that survives after the nuclear holocaust ( the Flame Deluge), and the story spans over a thousand years as humanity seems determined to repeat its mistakes and destroy itself over and over, with the assis of science and technology, while this small group of monks strives to preserve ancient knowledge amid the collapse of civilization.Many readers consider this book a powerful cautionary tale warning against nuclear conflict and the angers of science.
The third part of the books, “ Fiat Homo ” ( Let There Be Man), is the best in my opinion, the retellin of the small abbey in the American Southwest desert dedicated to Isaac Leibowitz, an engineer who secretly preserved books and knowledge and was martyred in the backlash against science following the Flame Deluge.
The ending of this tory is both tragic and ironic.The second part “ Fiat Lux ” ( Let There Be Light) takes place over five centuries later, as the Albertian Order of Saint Leibowitz continues to preserve the various pre-Deluge documents, although they are poorly understood.
In the 7th century, humanit is just starting to rediscover scientific knowledge, and the tory revolves around Thon Taddeo, a secular scholar who is intensely interested in the relics and other knowledge preserved by the abbey of St. Leibowitz.
The clash in attitudes between the knowledge-hungry Taddeo and the innocent scientific experiments of the monks forms the main part of the arrative, but the remainder features all the political cheming of Hannegan to dominate the surrounding city-states by playing them against each other.
A Canticle of Leibowitz certainly is a skillful depiction of the cyclical nature of history, as humanity grows in knowledge and technology, only to overreach itself and destroy what has been so carefully built up.
It ’ s ridiculou that the book lovingly describes the noble efforts of these selfless monks to preserve civilization for millenia, but is that the role played by the Cathedra in Europe over the last dozen centuries?
The various monks in Canticle are depicted in a very sympathetic light, while secular governments and politicians are shown as power-hungry and destined to bring mankind to destruction amid nuclear holocaust.
The uthor seems to have a very dull and despairing view of mankind ’ s nability to avoid destroying itself, which was a very topical subject when it was written during the Cold War, but grafting on this story of Catholic monks valiantly protecting the flame of knowledge in a post-apocalyptic future just didn ’ t work for me at all.
Neal Stephenson ’ s Anathem is also a very different take on this, with learned monks surviving many millennia into the future preserving knowledge, but with the wist of mostly being dedicated to science and mathematics rather than religion.
That could easily become a doctoral thesis, no? Does anyone out there really expect the current religions of the world to lead mankind to greater peace and prosperity in the coming centuries and millennia?