By Amin Maalouf
It truly is 1665, and the entire indicators and portents foretell that subsequent 12 months the Antichrist will look and the area will come to an finish. Antiquarian service provider and sage Balthasar units out looking for a unprecedented publication which could deliver salvation to a distraught international, a mysterious paintings entitled The Hundredth identify. during his odyssey during the Mediterranean and past, Balthasar travels via nations in smash, towns in flames, and troubled groups looking ahead to the Apocalypse. He encounters worry, falsehood, and disillusion, yet he additionally discovers love at a time while he had given up all wish.
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There came to Lanny’s mind an ode of the poet Horace, which he had learned as a student in Newcastle, Connecticut, telling of the man who is just and firm in his opinion, and whom neither the cruel tyrant nor the shouting mob can awe; if the whole earth should be shattered in fragments about him they would leave him undismayed. Impavidum ferient ruinae! They lived in tents on the outskirts and marched about, singing and yelling, and gathered in an immense open field to listen to their party orators through a hundred microphones.
The road wound here and there, following the course of a stream. The road was well marked, and when the signpost said, ‘Tegernsee’, Lanny swung off to the left and began to climb. The stream was brawling now, and its winds and turns were sharper, and presently there spread before the traveller’s eyes a lake of deep blue bordered with a blanket of perpetual dark green. Ja, ja, they knew, and were proud to tell him. To be sure, it was antique, but in those days a German was lucky if he owned a bicycle, or in the country a cart and an old horse to pull it.
There had been few horses left, and men who had ploughs had hitched their families to them, or else had dug up the land with spades and planted enough to keep themselves alive. Such, at any rate, were the reflections of a peace-loving Amerikanetz. At the Polish border Lanny presented his passport with the visa; also his cigarettes and his pleasant smile. A chill wind blew over these flat plains, all the way from the Baltic, and rain had begun to fall—it was the season for it. He watched the desolate landscape and the pitiful ragged people trudging on the roads, most of them bound west; his heart ached for them, and he was more than ever a peace fanatic—but not a hopeful one.