I agree entirely with this review. This is also a review of the reviewer who must be well read and well educated to appreciate this opus. This may be the best book I have ever read as well. I am still digesting it. The last 3 chapters had me blubbering like a little girl that lost her dolly. I have to admit I skipped 2 pages when the Hermit of Gouda was engaged in his self-created dark tea time of the soul; I was just too upset and angry with Clement/Gerard. I have read at least a book a month for the last 40 years of my life. The reasons this book has not been made into a movie are pretty obvious. Our society is just too shallow and untutoured to understand the depths of emotion and erudition in this book. One needs to have a fairly broad knowledge of theology, language, history and the arts to truly appreciate this masterpiece.