The Folly of the World, Paperback Book

The Folly of the World Paperback

2 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Even disaster can yield riches for the right sort of criminal...

The great flood killed thousands overnight - turning the towns between the warring cities of Dordrecht and Geertruidenburg into a desolate inland sea.

Into this ruined land sail three uneasy conspirators: a ruthless conman, a thug at the edge of madness and a half-feral girl who swims like a fish.

Working together they could find fortune beyond reckoning beneath the waves, but the lost souls below will not give up their treasures so easily. And even if these three can survive the dark waters, that's no guarantee they will survive each other.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9780356500881

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This was a difficult book. It is a gritty tale, with gritty people. Positive elements are the grim surroundings: you can feel how filthy the late middle-ages were and how desolated the landscape around Dordrecht was after the flood. I usually have sympathy for people who try to survive under difficult circumstances and to better themselves, but in this story it is hard to sympathize with some of the main characters. Maybe because there is to much emphasis on their bad habits or character or maybe because one of the characters is ruthless, selfish and egotistical to the point of being a sociopath and another one is a psychotic murderer. Nevertheless I sympathized with the psychotic tug and with the feral girl and also with several other characters with minor roles. The Dutch words and frases between the English text were somewhat strange, but the author gave an interesting explanation about the choices he made concerning Dutch words and terms. There is also a lot of politics around Hooks and Cods - politics of the late middle-ages in the south of the Netherlands : Brabant, Zeeland, and Holland and what is Belgium today: Flanders and Hinault. A historic explanation in the acknowledgement would be a nice gesture. By coincidence I read about this subject after a novel about Countess Jacoba of Hinault /Holland and I was happy about that. I imagine it can be quite confusing for anybody who is not familiar with this historic period. My biggest problem with this story is the plot. There is big plottwist around one of the main characters. A horror like scene and a strange event around 4/5th of the story. This strange event or plottwist is not explained in any way. There is a vague suggestion what might have happened, but that sounds very unbelievable in the context of the story. At least, that is how I felt it. It left me frustrated and dissapointed. What happened? How did it happen? I still do not understand and it made me angry. However, the "open end"was satisfying. With these characters a "they lived happily ever after" would be unfitting. Yet there is hope for a new start. This book dissapointed me and yet it also keeps my mind busy. Therefore it cannot be a completely bad or awful book. The characters, especially Jolanda, kept me interested. So I gave two and a half stars. And I am still debating if this is a fair rating.

Review by

I didn't finish this one. The set-up and location was interesting: the Netherlands some time ago, with a village under water from which something needed to be retrieved. Language-wise I find it a bit annoying. The author uses words that are dutch in origin, and englifies them, then uses English words with the same meaning at the same time. Plus, he's rather foul-mouthed of course. If it was just the language, I think I could have taken it, but some of the things happening are rather foul as well. Or maybe that's not true, they wouldn't need to be foul, they were just described that way. I read this book on the train, and since I have a short commute, I was reading it in bits and pieces. I think that's the reason I lasted as long as I did. Plus, I was curious what the whole thing with the diving was about. In the end, I stopped though, because I couldn't get any connection with the main characters. The only one that was halfway sympathetic was Jolanda, the girl that has to dive up the item. Sander is crazy, and Jan is disgusting. He uses everyone around him, and tries to seduce Jolanda in a disgusting manner. Once the item was found, I lost interest, despite the weird twist in the story. I never read far past SPOILER <spoiler>Jan dying.</spoiler>So, not for me, and I imagine not for a lot of people, so make sure to read a few reviews before you start on this one...