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Vic Echegoyen

528 pages

November 1st, 1755 - All Saints' Day - dawns as a radiant feast day in Lisbon, Europe's most prosperous capital. Neither the King and his family, nor the court or the city's inhabitants, military officers and engineers, the prisons' convicts, surgeons, friars and nuns, prostitutes, diplomats and the common folk, can image they are about to experience the greatest natural disaster ever to hit the Old Continent in the last two thousand years. A series of devastating earthquakes that raze almost all homes, churches, palaces and monuments, killing tens of thousands of people, followed by several tsunamis and compounded by a massive firestorm, terrify the people into believing God's wrath has been unleashed to punish them for their sins, and erase their mighty city from the face of the Earth.

Echegoyen, with this five-hundred-page choral story -which follows a that minute-per-chapter scheme, condensing six hours that changed the history of Europe- weaves a tapestry with the diversity of human reactions to adversity, in which the strength of its characters, many of them unforgettable, firmly drives a tale with breathless rhythm: from the responsibility of a king's minister, to a convict's thirst for revenge; from the teenager sets out in desperation in search of her beloved, to the political opportunist; the overwhelmed doctor; the architect who does not want to survive his masterwork; the nun who needs to go out and help the wounded; the calculating agitator; the castrato that sings for the victims... all of them will be the living cornerstones of a new Lisbon, resurrected from its ruins.

AUDIBLE, 2021/07