Knowledge of Angels

by Jill Paton Walsh | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0395686660 Global Overview for this book
Registered by inkognitoh of London, Greater London United Kingdom on 11/2/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by inkognitoh from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, November 02, 2003
*Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1994*

This book was generously sent to me by another bookcrosser. Thank you so much for this rung in my Booker Prize reading ladder.

Journal Entry 2 by inkognitoh from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, February 19, 2004
This book blew me away. I cannot believe these thoughts and ideas existed in print, in such a beautifully told story without my knowledge of them. From the opening chapter when we are invited to look into the story as though angels looking down on creation I was drawn into the lives of these people.

Tying in with the recent book I read on feral children, this book incorporates the tale of a lone girl, raised by wolves and roaming the mountains. It also tells the story of a man, a heretic, although he knows of God, knows he does not believe in God. A chain of events unfolds and the paths of the heretic and the feral child cross in quite remarkable ways.

There was a host of players in this ancient styled fable, most of them I adored. Some I abhored. I'm glad to have known all of them for this brief time however. This book, while talking about the very issues I wrestle with regarding religion, gave me no answers, none that I'm brave enough to hear anyway.

Sending off to another bookcrossing member in trade. I hope I haven't scared them off the story with my zeal.

Journal Entry 3 by Koalabare from Fetcham, Surrey United Kingdom on Monday, March 01, 2004
Just received this from Inkognitoh - thank you!
It looks fascinating - can't wait to read it!

Journal Entry 4 by Koalabare from Fetcham, Surrey United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Now I understand why Inkognitoh felt as she did about this book!

'Knowledge of Angels' gets under your skin, and I think will prompt anyone to question their beliefs, or lack of, and their preconceptions about God and religion.

The story is told in a clear prose that seems to drop images into your mind as you read. The sadnesses, joys and ironies of the story are beautifully played out. All the characters (bar one, I thought) were 3-dimensional, fully rounded and sympathetic, even if I couldn't always agree with their point of view.

Amazing. Thank-you so much Inkognitoh for sharing it with me!

15/4/04 Well, seems a shame to keep this to myself, so it's off on a bookray! More details to follow...

Journal Entry 5 by Koalabare from Fetcham, Surrey United Kingdom on Monday, April 19, 2004
Book Ray!

The participants are as follows:

LeighBCD (UK)
Oblivious1980 (UK)
Scarlett17 (UK)
Nefertari (UK)
Bookmaniac70 (Bulgaria)
Zarylia (Poland/ US)
FamFatale (US)
Cheli-Garza (US)
Rrrcaron (US)
Zenus (US) (Skipped)
zizzr (US) (Skipped)
Scism (Australia) (Skipped)
Tqd (Australia)
Gypsyrose02 (Australia)
Chelseagirl (UK)
JeSuisBelle (Philippines) <-- traveling to

I've never found an easy or totally fair way to organise these - in this case people have been linked by region, to cut down on postage times, then a mix of mailing preferences and the order in which I recieved their PMs. If you have any difficulties with where you are (within reason!), please let me know :)

Anyone wishing to join the ray after this has been posted will be added on at the end, and for obvious reasons must be able to post internationally.

The last person on the list can release the book in any way they think best - RABCK, wild release or another ray - you decide!

Please journal when you receive and let us know what you think of the book. And please don't hang on to the book for too long - more than 4-6 weeks - if you have other commitments and want to be shuffled down the list so you can read it later, then please PM me.

Other than that - I hope you enjoy it! :)

Release planned for Wednesday, April 21, 2004 at Sent to a bookcrosser in Royal Mail, City of London, England United Kingdom.

Posted to LeighBCD!

Journal Entry 7 by LeighBCD on Thursday, April 22, 2004
Thanks so much koalabare! First in line for this bookray... I received this in today's post (I have just made it home). Typically I started a new book this morning so I will have to read this in tandem. It looks good - inkognitoh always has very good taste in books!! ;-) - so I am looking forward to trying it. I will be back!

Journal Entry 8 by LeighBCD on Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Sadly, I could not get into this book at all. I found the idea of the feral child interesting but not so much as to pursue this book any further, I made it about half-way through. Clearly the problem is me since koalabare and inkognitoh both loved the novel.

I will send the book onto Oblivious1980 within the next few days.

Thanks again koalabare for starting the bookray - this was a really, really quality choice of novel for a bookray, even if it was not to my personal taste. We should have more of these Booker Prize nominees up for grabs!

Journal Entry 9 by LeighBCD at on Monday, May 10, 2004
Released on Monday, May 10, 2004 at to oblivious1980 in Sheffield, England Controlled Releases.

Next stop on the journey is oblivious1980... I hope you enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 10 by oblivious1980 from Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Arrived safely today, thanks! Will journal again when read!

Journal Entry 11 by oblivious1980 from Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, May 21, 2004
I found this quite difficult to get into at first but kept going with it and I am so glad that I did.

The stories of a heretic and a feral child are told side by side, I felt at times that the story of the heretic was tiresome and I was skimming it just to get back to the feral child. The latter seems to reach a more entertaining level much faster.

I found a lot of the ideas interesting, the book seemed a bit "preachy" in the beginning but it became clear toward the end that the author's aim was not to force any notion of God onto the reader, just to make you think.

I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I expected to after the laboured start and it's one I feel I'll probably feel a desire to read again in a couple of years. Many thanks for setting this ray up and giving me the chance to read it, I doubt it's a book I ever would have had the benefit of reading otherwise!

Journal Entry 12 by Scarlett17 from Bexley, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Received this book this morning. I'm coming to the end of my current read so I should be able to start this one in a day or so.

Journal Entry 13 by Scarlett17 from Bexley, Kent United Kingdom on Saturday, June 05, 2004
In my opinion, this is a brilliant book. It enthralled me, angered me, frustrated me and intrigued me. I found the story about the heretic the better, as I have similar beliefs. The relation between the monks and priest and the heretic was interesting and at the same time agonising. I wanted to go into the scene and support the heretic.
The story about the feral child was a fascinating idea, and an original example of how people can try to influence the beliefs of others by twisting a situation to their own advantage. I think the two stories would have stood equally well on their own. The construction of the book with the two stories running together and meeting up did work, but I don't think it's essential to the overall story and they would be just as valid as two separate short stories.
I'm just waiting for an address to post this on to nefertari. Thanks, koalabare, for sharing this thought-provoking book.

Released on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 at Fellow BookCrosser in Postal release, Postal Release Controlled Releases.

Journal Entry 15 by nefertari from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, June 13, 2004
The book arrived with me a couple of days ago. Thanks for organising the ring!

Journal Entry 16 by nefertari from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Saturday, July 24, 2004
I started reading this yesterday and couldn't really get into it. Like most of the readers so far, I had a preference for one story over another (that of the heretic) but couldn't stick at it for long enough to finish it. I will pass this on to the next person as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 17 by nefertari at on Monday, July 26, 2004
Released on Monday, July 26, 2004 at Royal Mail in Royal Mail, Sent to another BookCrosser Controlled Releases.

On its way to Bookmaniac70 as of this morning. Happy reading :-)

Journal Entry 18 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Tuesday, September 14, 2004
I received the book in the end of August along with a huge pile of other books for rings,as well,so probably this is reason I forgot to register it,I apologise for that!

However,the good news are that I already finished the book and was very very satisfied! A very good book,IMO.A good novel about beliefs,deceptions and intelectual temptations.I wasn`t troubled by the religion issue here,as I wasn`t looking for some kind of answers or reality,I enjoyed the theological debate between Palitor and Benedixt,as there were some interesting ideas and thoughts in it.In general,I read it as a very intriguing medieval tale.The story of the feral child illustrated well how people tend to manipulate reality according to their beliefs.Even a character so sympathetic, Severo,was captured into the trap of conducting an experiment to prove his faith.The experiment amounts even to heresy-no one is allowed to speak about God to the child.However,his experiment turned against him,when Josefa decided to break her vow with a sweet innocence.It was well shown how Josefa became attached to Amara.She was the only one who truly cared for Amara,so much that finally she wanted to return her freedom.
I liked very much when Palidor said what he cosidered to be sin-"To search to increase your light,trying to extinguish the radiance of another".
I,too,agree,that the writer`s intention was rather to make the reader think over beliefs,religion,freedom of opinion,than to convey a certain view.
The only problem with this book is probably the beginning.I understand why some bookcrossers got bored- the beginning is not promising,indeed,and the action begins too slow but then it takes on speed and you cannot put the book down.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful novel!

Journal Entry 19 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Zenita asked to be skipped,so now I`m PMing Zarylia about her address.

Released 15 yrs ago (9/14/2004 UTC) at by mail in To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



I forgot to journal when I mailed the book,so probably the date is not correct but it was 10 days-2 weeks ago.

Journal Entry 21 by Zarylia from Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Warsaw/Poland - The book has arrived! Thanks to bookmaniac70 for the Sofia postcard; I had almost forgotten what it looked like! :-D Anyway, I do have 2 other, very large, bookrings to read, but luckily there is a vacation so I should be able to finish it in a decent amount of time. Thanks!

Journal Entry 22 by Zarylia from Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Hua Hin/Thailand - I would have to agree with inkognitoh in that I found the book absolutely incredible. Not only where the ideas presented deeply thought provoking, but the way in which they were introduced, through the two stories, kept me interested to the very end. I appreciated that the book did not seem biased towards one viewpoint or another, and I found that the conclusion the book seemed to make was that faith, by definition is not based on evidence. Trying to validate your faith by proving the existence of God is not what it means to have faith and in that sense I think Palinor was right when he said that he did not believe that it could be proven that God existed, but he also did not believe God could be proven not to exist. Whatever you happen to believe; I believe the book was wonderful. ;-P Except for the one plot hole, but I won't got there. Hehehe. Thanks for including me in the ring!!

As I am currently on vacation in Thailand it may be awhile before I can mail the book, unless of course I can figure out the postal system here....

Journal Entry 23 by Zarylia from Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Warsaw/Poland - The book is now on en route to FamFatale in Virginia. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 24 by FamFatale from Chantilly, Virginia USA on Monday, March 21, 2005
Not sure I feel as strongly as others have about this book. I was left wanting some revelation or another at the end of it. I didn't feel satisfied with the ending.

Journal Entry 25 by FamFatale at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (6/14/2005 UTC) at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Released to Cheli-Garza

Journal Entry 26 by cheli-garza from Dallas, Texas USA on Tuesday, June 28, 2005
This arrived in the mail yesterday. Judging by a few peeks it looks interesting, and a bit different from what I normally read. I'll be starting this in a day or two.

Okay, I also peeked at the opinions of some of my fellow ringers & admittedly hope that I do not feel the same way as FamFatale. Fam, you're not the only person who likes a good definitive ending. When things are left up in the air, I feel like I'm missing something. Only one way to find out... read the book, right? I'll journal when I'm through.

Journal Entry 27 by cheli-garza from Dallas, Texas USA on Saturday, July 02, 2005
Not bad! Just about all of you fellow rayers had relevant points to make. I DO wish that the book had gone on just a bit longer. It just brings up the question, "what if?"

Poor, poor little wolf-child. Most everyone in this tale seems to come out worse in the end. Except, of course, for Josefa. Just about anything would have been better than how her story began.

This book made me question my faith a bit (but not for too long, I hope!) I especially like the way that Palinor kept on throwing back Benedixt's arguments. I was recently reading a religious book that used the same premise of God existing because he does. What?? Come on, now. It's much better to just come out and say that you need to have faith than to use such a weak argument.

Anyhow, Zarylia, what plot hole were you talking about? (Sshh, I promise not to tell.)

Pming Rrrcaron for address & will then throw in the mail.

Journal Entry 28 by Rrrcaron from Lancaster, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, July 14, 2005
I received this in the mail today. I hope to get to it soon!

Journal Entry 29 by Rrrcaron from Lancaster, New Hampshire USA on Monday, October 24, 2005
After contacting four different people on the list, I have finally found someone to mail this book to! Zenus never responded, and zizzr and Scism aked to be skipped, so the book will be on the way to Tqd in Ausralia today. I will send global priority so it shouldn't take too long. Thanks for sharing the book, and I apolgize for holding it so long. Now that I'm reviewing books for Harper ollins, the books on my shelf seem to have taken the backseat!

Journal Entry 30 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, October 31, 2005
I was just sitting at the computer, catching up on email, and then turned around to go and actually do something constructive (the washing up is teetering somewhat...) to discover that a nice mail delivery person had thoughtfully just left a couple of packages on the open windowsill, rather than disturbing me.

So now I'm back at the computer, avoiding housework. :)

Thanks for posting this to me, rrrcaron! And thanks for starting the ring, KoalaBare!

It looks completely fascinating, I'm looking forward to reading this. It'll be the next book I start, since it's the only bookring book in my possession at the moment! (A rare occurrence!)

Journal Entry 31 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Sorry, I finished this a while back, but just haven't had the chance to journal my thoughts as yet!

I really enjoyed the book, it was very well written and a fascinating story.

I don't think I've ever read so much theology! But it must've been Theology 101 because I understood it all (heathen atheist that I am!).

I did have more to say, I should have written my entry earlier, because now I've forgotten it all! (Except, how on earth does one pronounce "Beneditx"? Is that a silent "x" or a silent "t"??)

I shall get Gypsyrose02's address asap and send this off.

UPDATE 1-DEC-2005: Popped in the mail to Gypsyrose02 yesterday. Sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 32 by gypsyrose02 from Byford, Western Australia Australia on Tuesday, December 06, 2005
arrived today. thankyou koalabear for the ray and thanks tqd for sending it to me. shall get to it asap.

Journal Entry 33 by gypsyrose02 from Byford, Western Australia Australia on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
sorry guys, but im just not liking this book. cantget into it and as my TBR pile is expandig, ive decided to post it on. will get an addy for chelseagirl and post it after chrissy.
thanks for including me.

Journal Entry 34 by gypsyrose02 from Byford, Western Australia Australia on Thursday, March 02, 2006
on its way to chelseagirl. sorry for the delay

Journal Entry 35 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Saturday, May 13, 2006
Arrived safely, thanks.

I'm not going to read any of the journals as I don't want them to affect my enjoyment. I'm snowed under with rings at the moment so it might take me a while to get to this, but I'll move it on as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 36 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Thursday, June 22, 2006
Well, I picked this up as it was next to the bed and I wasn't getting on with another ring book, and finished it in three days!

Fascinating book that has ignited in me an interest in theology and where faith comes from. I enjoyed the tales of Amara and Palinor equally but wished that things had turned out better in the end. Definitely not the type of book I usually read but my life has been enriched by it. Many thanks for the opportunity to enjoy!

Will be PMing the last person on the list and sending on asap. I've never posted anything to the Phillipines before!

PS> I missed the plot hole too ....

Journal Entry 37 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I've sent several PMs to jesuisbelle but ahve had no response - Inkognitoh, can you please contact me to arrange where this book goes now? Thanks :0)

Journal Entry 38 by inkognitoh from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Release it somewhere creative in the wild? Sorry I didn't release this book with ideas of future plans and as its now in your possession, I guess its up to you what happens now? I believe the person I traded it with organised the Bookray, not I :)

Glad to see so many people get some mileage out of this wonderful read though.

Journal Entry 39 by Koalabare from Fetcham, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Looks like this book has reached the end of it's ray...

Chelseagirl - if you still haven't heard from jesuisbelle in another week or so, then I think it's up to you to decide what happens next, whether that's a wild release, another ray/ ring or whatever...

Wow - over 2 years traveling - like Inkognitoh, I'm glad this book got to so many people - thanks all for reading, commenting and passing on. :)

Journal Entry 40 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I'm just about to take part in my first Book Swap Live and I'm offering this in the All New YBS #1 swap - I really hope whoever "wins" it enjoys it as much as we all did!

Journal Entry 41 by chelseagirl from Faringdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Thursday, November 16, 2006
This has FINALLY gone in the post today to morsecode in Delaware, who won it in the bookswap. I hope she enjoys it as much as we all did!

Journal Entry 42 by morsecode from Woonsocket, Rhode Island USA on Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This book arrived safe and sound in Buffalo, NY today.
Thanks so much, chelseagirl.

Journal Entry 43 by morsecode at Buffalo, New York USA on Monday, September 13, 2010
Set on an island very similar to Majorca in a time reminiscent of the 15th century, Knowledge of Angels is an exploration of morality and intolerance. The novel's action centers around the islanders' relation to two outsiders, who each by their very presence of each draws into question the status quo.

Palinor is a foreign nobleman who washed up on the shores of Grandinsula after a boating accident. While he wants nothing more than to travel home, but officials are unable to issue Palinor the necessary paperwork because he will not indicate a religious affiliation. When Palinor refuses to sway from his atheistic position, a notated theologian and educator is brought in to convince him of the existence of God.

Amara is a preadolescent girl who was raised by wolves. Discovered by shepherds in the mountains, Amara is displayed as a novelty to those who would pay to see the wolf child until she is rescued by a devout teenage boy worried about the state of her unbaptized soul. After Amara is baptized by the cardinal (to satisfy the boy), she is consigned to a community of mendicants. Since Amara has never been exposed to religious teaching, the cardinal hopes to learn from her whether or not the knowledge of God is innate. The nuns are ordered to care for her physical needs and to civilize her, but never to mention God in her presence.

Though the two outsiders never meet, their stories are linked by a chain that solidifies when an inquisitor appears on the scene, causing problems not just for Palinor and his apologist friend, but for the island's religious head as well.

As is usually the case with novels that have more than one storyline, I was more interested in one (Amara's) than the other and sometimes found myself skimming through the dense philosophical debates of Palinor's sections to get back to Amara and the nuns more quickly.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994, Knowledge of Angels is extremely thought-provoking. With many questions raised and few answered, readers can't help but continue to ponder the novel long after they close its covers.

Journal Entry 44 by morsecode at University at Buffalo South Campus in Buffalo, New York USA on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (3/30/2011 UTC) at University at Buffalo South Campus in Buffalo, New York USA


This book is going in a bag that I'll be giving a coworker who is collecting books for a book drive.

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