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The Devil and Miss Prym

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About the Author

Paulo Coelho was born in Brazil and has become one of the most widely read authors in the world today. Renowned for his best-loved work The Alchemist, he has sold over 30 million books worldwide and has been translated into 42 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious awards, he is a storyteller with the power to inspire nations and change people's lives.


New to the U.S. but first published in Europe in 1992, Coelho's latest (following the bestselling The Zahir) is an old school parable of good and evil. When a stranger enters the isolated mountain town of Viscos with the devil literally by his side, the widow Berta knows (because her deceased husband, with whom she communicates daily, tells her) that a battle for the town's souls has begun. The stranger, a former arms dealer, calls himself Carlos and proposes a wager to the town: if someone turns up murdered within a week, he'll give the town enough gold to make everyone wealthy. Carlos ensures people believe him by choosing the town bartender, the orphan Chantal Prym, as his instrument: he shows her where the gold is, confides that his wife and children have been executed by kidnapper terrorists (remember: 1992), and that he is hoping his belief that people are basically evil will be vindicated. Chantal would like nothing better than to disappear with the gold herself and thus faces her own dilemmas. Add in corrupt townspeople (including a priest), sometimes biting social commentary and, distastefully, a very heavily stereotyped recurring town legend about an Arab named Ahab, and you've got quite a little Garden of Eden potboiler. But the unsatisfying ending lets everyone off the hook and leaves questions hanging like ripe apples. (July 3) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Tormented by past tragedy and now searching to understand the good and evil natures of humanity, a stranger targets the remote town of Viscos for a spiritual experiment that involves tempting the youngest resident, the discontented Chantal Prym, with gold bars to see if she will hold fast to her religious beliefs or cast all aside for monetary gain. As part of their bargain, Chantal is required by the stranger to tell the town members of the gold, which will be freely offered to revitalize their declining town if they will break a commandment and kill one of their own. This enticing proposition throws all the townfolk into a grave moral crisis. Internationally renowned Brazilian novelist Coelho completes his "And On the Seventh Day" trilogy (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept; Veronika Decides To Die) with a spiritually intricate tale told in a simple, straightforward manner that allows all to absorb and contemplate. Recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/05.] Joy St. John, Henderson Dist. P.L., NV Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"His Books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people" THE TIMES

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