Since Lawrence Durrell did not have to worry about anathemas, and he was a product of another time (Royidis lived 1835-1904 and published the book in 1886) he could develop some of the more jolly elements of the Royidis work-and this he thoroughly did, according to the commentators who read both works. I did not yet have chance to read the original, so will not comment on this, but will only praise the readability of the book. Especially in undoubtedly completely imaginary description of the first travel of young 9th century Joanna from England to Germany and Greece. It is so lovingly unbelievable, that it might indeed show to be the closest to truth, which, we know well, is rather an unbelievably elusive category. And also completely chaotic, but beautiful. As this story is beautiful, I would give it lots of chances to be almost true in the roulette of History.
It is endearing to see how Royidis and Durrell topple the sainthood of the saints, and the reverence of the revered. Dirt of the Church is exposed in its best, and devils supper with popes in close communion. True to the bare bones, a reality show online from Vatican of the 9th century!
A highly reccomendable novel. It is also a very learned work, thanks to Royidis. It is definitely not just a spitting bowl against the Church, but an educated frontal attack on the filth of Papacy.
Curious enough, Vatican accepted it with a smiling eye. In their devilish wisdom they knew that such a triffle story can not add more than powdery dust to the already blood-stained and broken picture of the Holy See. The stink emanating from there is too strong, so that Royidis "truth" could hardly add anything to it.