Like Per Olov Enquist’s Visit of the Royal Physician, Ildefonso Falcones’s historical novel Cathedral of the Sea has won a veritable bouquet of prizes both in its native Spain, where it enjoyed immense success, and in other European countries. Like The Visit of the Royal Physician, however, it left me cold. In fact, I am willing to go further in this instance and to say that this is a very disappointing book. Had I not felt honour-bound to finish it, I would have put it aside after the first hundred pages. As it was, I forced myself through to the end. I’m going to try to keep this post brief because, while I’m more than happy to write long effusive reviews of books I like, I see no virtue in dwelling on negativity. Suffice it to say I won’t be recommending it to anyone.