The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

The Second Sleep

Robert Harris

This book was quite a surprise and not at all what I was expecting. England after the Apocalypse sighs under the yoke of fanatic Christians. In a small village Father Lacy, a priest with an obsession with archeology, is found dead. Christopher Fairfax, his young colleague, is sent on an investigation and his discoveries about the death and the truth about the decline of the ancients put him in immediate danger. Surprisingly intriguing.

Extract

... and, on the top most shelf, propped up on a clear plastic stand, what seemed to be the pride of the collection: one of the devices used by the ancients to communicate. Fairfax had seen fragments of them before, but never one in such a perfect state of preservation. He felt drawn to it, and this time, despite himself, he could not resist opening the cabinet and taking it out. It was thinner than his little finger, smaller than his hand, black and smooth and shiny, fashioned out of plastic and glass. It weighed quite heavy in his palm, pleasingly substantial. He wondered who had owned it and how the priest had come by it. What images might it once have conveyed, and what sounds might have emerged from it? He pressed the button on the front as if it might miraculously spring to life, but the glossy surface remained resolutely black and dead, and all he could see was the reflection of his own face, ghostly in the candlelight. He turned it over. On the back was the ultimate symbol of the ancients' hubris and blasphemy – an apple with a bite taken out of it.

Parallels
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margareth Atwood
  • Heroes and Villains by Angela Carter