Copyright 2001 by
I first read this on the 20th January 2004.
The Argonos is a magnificent, but now ancient and dilapidated starship. It has been
cruising through space for hundreds of years. Society on board has stratified into
three layers: crew, management and those who simply toil in the depths of the ship.
The ship's facilities and supplies have seriously degraded due to age and
the occasional rebellions. But more than objects have been damaged. Knowledge
has been lost. History has been lost. No one now knows its original purpose.
When it comes across a vast alien spacecraft drifting apparently abandoned in the
depths of space, opinion is divided about the wisdom of exploring the mysterious
Obviously if they hadn't decided to explore it there wouldn't have been much of a
The alien craft turns out to be perplexing. It is abandoned but there are some signs
of life. It is even more surprising when they find areas which possess breathable
At this point things start to go seriously wrong. Our flawed hero, Bartomoleo
Aguilera, finds himself - and his entire ship - in rather difficult circumstances
The American edition was called "Ship Of Fools". Can't think why I didn't buy
that when I saw it a couple of years ago.
This is good but not brilliant. There is such an excitement, such a realm of
possibilities opened up by the discovery of the alien vessel, yet for so long,
nothing concrete is discovered. The novel loses its impetus midway, but recovers
for an exciting ending.
The description of the society on board the vessel is excellent. The stratified and
hidebound culture is well-portrayed by the characters of the captain Nikos Costa, the
Bishop Bernard and Pär the dwarf. It's a good book, an enthralling mystery, and I may read it
Bit sad about the lady priest, Father Veronica, though.
Loaded on the 29th February 2004.