To Know Evil
Any reader searching for a less densely detailed description of medieval monastic life than that provided by Umberto Eco may wish to join along with Brother Thomas of Worms as his duties take him to a Benedictine monastery in a remote section of northern Italy. The year 999 has not gone well for the Benedictine monks as a series of allegedly accidental deaths appear to Thomas as homicides. The Abbot, extremely reluctant to rule the deaths as murders, forcibly reminds Brother Thomas of his vows of obedience by ordering him to laboriously copy a portion of the Bible. A young monk, Brother Nicholas, introduces Thomas to a Gnostic manuscript. Despite the need to obey his superior and his conflicting desire to seek out a killer, Thomas finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the Gnostic material. The text stuns Thomas and leads him to seriously question his role in the Church and the very foundations of his faith. As chance would have it, Thomas’s hitherto stable world is further shaken as the monks nervously prepare for the expected struggle between Good and Evil certain to play a critical role the moment 999 turns to 1000 on the calendar.