We return to Europe with the next country in The Read the World Project, but it’s a small one. In Read the World, I am researching literature from each country in the world alphabetically, and will ultimately decide which book to read as part of the Read the World Challenge. I am doing this both on this blog and on YouTube. So, let’s check out the next country!
Andorra is the tiny country stuck between France and Spain, surrounded by the Pyrenees, and official speaking Catalan. With its population of 85,000, you wouldn’t expect to find many authors, especially those with books translated to English. And that’s exactly the way it is. I found only one author with books in English. Let’s watch the video first.
The Teacher of Cheops, by Albert Salvadó
Goodreads Rating: 3.12
Cover excerpt: This is the history of the time of Pharaoh Snefru and Queen Hetepheres, the parents of Cheops, who built the largest and most impressive pyramid of all. It is also the story of the high priest Ramosi, Sedum, a slave who became Cheops’ teacher, and how the first pyramid came to be built.
Sebekhotep, the great wise man of that time, said, “Everything is written in the stars. Most of us live our lives unaware of it. Some can read the stars and see their destiny. But very few people learn to write in the stars and change their destiny.”
Ramosi and Sedum learned to write in the stars and tried to change their destinies, but fortune treated them very differently. This is a tale of the confrontation between two men’s intelligence: one fighting for power, the other struggling for freedom.
The Shadow of Ali Bey Part One: The Mysterious Balloon Man, by Albert Salvadó
Goodreads Rating: 3.75
Cover excerpt: As the 18th century ends and the 19th century begins, changes abound all over Europe. Absolute monarchy is coming to an end, England and Spain struggle for supremacy in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and France is in conflict with all its neighbours. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, a new power is starting to emerge: the United States of America.
In the midst of all these changes, Alfred Gordon, a civil servant employed by the British secret service, makes a discovery that will totally revolutionise global espionage. He realises that the nobility, the traditional spies, are in decline. He turns to the burgeoning middle class instead.
Gordon suggests to the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, that they should employ Thomas Headking, a young Englishman living in Spain who is on the run after killing Lord Brookshield’s son in a duel. They plan to use his business acumen to spy for them in exchange for a royal pardon.
Tom Headking’s ability is such that he gains access to the office of Godoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, where he finds a mysterious treatise on hot air balloons written by Polindo Remigio. Headking investigates and finds out that there is no such person. It is a pseudonym used by a Catalan man named Domingo Badia, a capable fellow with daring ideas who was to become the most intrepid traveller of the 19th century, a spy who has gone down in history with the name Ali Bey.
The Shadow of Ali Bey Part Two: The Prince of Spies, by Albert Salvadó
Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Cover excerpt: Lord Grenville asks Alfred Gordon to come out of retirement and return to active service because an old acquaintance of the British secret services has turned up in London. He is meeting scientists, geographers and explorers and has even had himself circumcised. And it is all being financed by the Spanish government. Gordon wonders what he could be after.
Domingo Badia leaves London disguised as Ali Bey. He crosses the Strait of Gibraltar and carries out the plan he proposed to Godoy, the Spanish Prime Minister: conquering Morocco for the Kingdom of Spain because Sultan Slimane refuses to sell the country cereal. All of North Africa would come under Spanish control.
In the midst of all the changes taking place, with the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon, the British Crown loses one of its largest colonies and the United States of America comes into existence, looking set to be a great power. Meanwhile war in Europe brings a major defeat for the Spanish Empire by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. An incredible adventure begins and the world witnesses the birth of one of history’s greatest legends: Prince Ali Bey.
The Phaeton Report (Noah’s Secret Diary), by Albert Salvadó
Goodreads Rating: 3.70
Cover excerpt: A famous writer knows in a party a man who tells her about USC (Universal Scientific Community), secret society created in times of Galileo Galilei that is dedicated to preserving the knowledge and the scientific truth against the attacks of the religions and official departments. In the middle of the feast the man mysteriously disappears and the writer discovers that nobody knows or has seen him. Surprised, the writer researches and locates a member of USC that gives him access to true and remote history of humanity and the lies that have come to us to the present. Even he allows him to get into USC and meet other members. The real surprise comes when they reveal him (and show him!) the existence and destruction in times of Pangea, the only continent, and that the Great Flood was not work of the wrath of God, but the result of a human error made by an ancient civilization that almost kills all humanity. However, even he is going to discover the largest of all the surprises… if we do not, we can commit another mistake and again endanger humanity.
That’s about it. Andorra doesn’t have much to offer in the way of books in English. Which one do you think I should read? Or do you know of any others from Andorra that are available in English? Let me know in the comments!
Next is Angola!