BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: The Garden of Earthly Delights by Nicholas Salaman, Flamingo pounds 6.99

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The Independent Culture
We are in the 1530s and Julius, an apprentice of the dying painter Hieronymus Bosch, is charged with the task of finishing the hell portion of his master's great work (the one after which this novel is titled). Julius chooses, appropriately, to live in the city state of Rendsburg, which turns into a living hell as the Anabaptists come to town, taking over the government, murdering or kicking out their opponents and stealing their money. Salaman's sick-joke approach to historical fiction, alongside the unarguably revolting horrors of the times, gives this book the humour of television's Blackadder, with the depth that only a novel provides.