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  1. Xlibris – Reviewed | The Independent Publishing Magazine
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Ex-Libris by Ross King. Ex-Libris by Ross King. A cryptic summons to a remote country house launches Isaac Inchbold, a London bookseller and antiquarian, on an odyssey through seventeenth-century Europe.

Charged with the task of restoring a magnificent library destroyed by the war, Inchbold moves between Prague and the Tower Bridge in London, his fortunes—and his life—hanging on his ability to recover a missing manuscri A cryptic summons to a remote country house launches Isaac Inchbold, a London bookseller and antiquarian, on an odyssey through seventeenth-century Europe. Charged with the task of restoring a magnificent library destroyed by the war, Inchbold moves between Prague and the Tower Bridge in London, his fortunes—and his life—hanging on his ability to recover a missing manuscript.

Yet the lost volume is not what it seems, and his search is part of a treacherous game of underworld spies and smugglers, ciphers, and forgeries. Inchbold's adventure is compelling from beginning to end as Ross King vividly recreates the turmoil of Europe in the seventeenth century—the sacks of great cities; Raleigh's final voyage; the quest for occult knowledge; and a watery escape from three mysterious horsemen.

A Book Sense 76 pick Paperback , pages. Published May 28th by Penguin Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Ex-Libris , please sign up.

Xlibris – Reviewed | The Independent Publishing Magazine

My copy is missing pages misprint or misbinding. See 1 question about Ex-Libris…. Lists with This Book. Apr 23, Colleen rated it did not like it. This is a rare example of a book that starts out well and gets more and more boring and confusing as it goes on. The author wrote non-fiction before this and it shows in Ex-Libris. He appears to have gotten carried away with his research and recounts the entire history of the world up until He drops names and events and years and I sat there scratching my head and saying, "Huh?

The one bright spot in this book is the character, Isaac Inchbold. He is a feisty old man wh This is a rare example of a book that starts out well and gets more and more boring and confusing as it goes on. He is a feisty old man who sheds his quiet, sedate lifestyle for a bit of excitement in spite of himself.

He tries not to get drawn into the mystery, but can't help himself. As for the plot I kept reading, hoping that things would be explained as I neared the end but they weren't. I don't know who the bad guys were, what mysterious book they were after, or how it was resolved in the end if it even was. Wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless you need help falling asleep!

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Jan 19, John rated it it was ok Recommends it for: The author of Brunelleschi's Dome might have done better. The comparison of this overwrought intellectual mystery to Eco's The Name of the Rose is sad misinformation for the reader. Anachronisms and the repetitive use of "rumours" and "gossip" to give information about far too complicated a plot are distracting, and the action drawing the, by now weary, reader on is not credible.

Read this "Dome" and then reread Eco. Sep 12, Mark rated it liked it. I love historical fiction, particularly when, as in Ross King's case, a mystery is involved. Ex-Libris was a satisfying, and rewarding read for at least of it's pages Paperback Edition. I have read many books involving English history, still, I feel Ex-Libris painted a picture more vividly of life in the mid's. Without giving anything away, or not much anyway, Ex-Libris is a story set in the disastrous years of and after English Reformation.

There are two stories entwined together I love historical fiction, particularly when, as in Ross King's case, a mystery is involved. There are two stories entwined together in the story, they run parallel to eachother but are decades apart. Both stories center in the search for a missing text, one of greater value than the reader can imagine at first. I enjoyed the introspective pace of the narrator Isaac Inchbold. His accounts of life on London Bridge were enlightening, and convincingly authentic, the sites and smells and cricks and creeks are all lushly delivered.

Fans of historical fiction will lap these details up. I wonder, however, if Ross King prefers narration to dialogue, for I felt the story was lacking in the latter, and when it did occur, it sounded versed in the same tongue as narration, every character exactly as eloquent as the next. I probably wouldn't mention such an incongruity, or even write a review for this book at all if it hadn't been for the way the book ends.

Ex-Libris is recommended in the same breath, with almost all reviewers, with the works of Umberto Eco, Arturo Perez-Reverte, and Iain Pears, which is good company no doubt. But I felt some of the comparisons are too obvious. Our hero or, anti-hero, in Mr. Inchbold's defense he is clumsy and club-footed spends a waning chapter on deciphering a cryptic jumble of letters he finds, and, while he does solve it's peculiar riddle, it hardly seems important.

It seems, in the deja vu sense, a tribute to Umberto Eco's intricate novel Foucualt's Pendulum and little more. The story also suffers slightly from esoteric name-dropping, not of seventeenth century personalities but of Hermetic texts from up to three hundred years previous to this story.

No, I did not and do not know the few names I just plucked out of Ex-Libris, but I never felt I was missing intricate details of the story, I felt instead that I was trekking briskly uphill to reach a destination that I increasingly demanded better-be-worth-it with each trudging step. The book is peppered with bibliophiles, there doesn't seem to be anyone in post-Cromwell England according to Ex-Libris who is not extremely well read. It is the ending that upset me the most, it is the ending that prompts me to write this review. Now, how do I do this without giving anything crucial away It seems the last chapter was reserved to tie so loosely the hundreds of shreds that kept us plugging along.

It was the most improbable finale I can think of. And in the midst of life threatening turmoil, two characters intellectually pander all the conclusions as they run for their very lives. It's more ridiculous than even that, I promise you, but I don't want to give away the preposterous details. Here is the worst part, and this is safe territory, for it is mentioned on the very last page but does not give anything dreadful away.

The narrator sits in his bookshop on London Bridge many years later in the Epilogue, and he mentions the passing years by saying " I know I repeated that twice, but I had to. Now, I was flabbergasted when I read that, insulted and disgusted. Most any amateur of English history, I am by no means an expert, knows that the Great Fire that devastated London known also as "London's Fire" started in a bakery on London Bridge in September First, I just looked it up to make sure. The fire, fueled by an unusual early morning wind, tore apart London.

It is disturbing that Ross King, who knows much more about Seventeenth-Century London than I am likely to ever know, by-passed this alarming detail. The question remains, after all of my directionless rambling, do I recommend this book or not? I think the details about the time, the rich scope described deliciously in four senses is worth reading. And the ending, while unforgivable, does not merit abolition of the story that precedes it.

Great Story - Ridiculous Ending Oct 04, Ryan rated it really liked it. I know a couple of other people who tried to get through this and found it underwhelming, but I truly enjoyed it. I just came across it as I was cleaning off a shelf and recalled how intriguing I found it.

I have not generally been one for the "detective" genre. However, this book is so cleverly written and weaves so much of the culture of the late Renaissance, with particular emphasis on the widespread development of printing and book-trading, into its story. There are a lot of off-the-wall Lat I know a couple of other people who tried to get through this and found it underwhelming, but I truly enjoyed it.

There are a lot of off-the-wall Latin references, which made me laugh. I think I most enjoyed that the mystery itself was wrapped up in the use of language and how it could be solved with the right selection of information from different ancient tomes. A fairly raucous description of life in London especially in this era. A really fun one! Jan 04, E. Stevens rated it really liked it Shelves: Ex Libris opens in the year with the character of Isaac Inchbold, widower and proprietor of Nonesuch Books located upon London Bridge.

Isaac Inchbold, an agoraphobic London bookseller, is happily going about his sheltered existence when he receives a mysterious letter from an even more mysterious Lady Marchamont. Inchbold surprises himself by acc Ex Libris opens in the year with the character of Isaac Inchbold, widower and proprietor of Nonesuch Books located upon London Bridge. Inchbold surprises himself by accepting the Lady's commission and embarks on an adventure full of assassins, crypts, political intrigue, and secret codes. May 02, Megan rated it liked it Shelves: Once I was seven years old.

My mom didn't tell me anything about making friends or being lonely terribly attempted musical reference but I very often visited the library and took home more books than the librarians assumed I could read within the given week. And just once this was true. I started a book--an epic book--but then had to return it before I had finished the third chapter. They wouldn't let me recheck it because it was being requested at another library.

I never saw that Backstory: I never saw that book again. Nor could I remember it's title, but I have never stopped looking for it. A few years ago, while shopping for an ex-libris stamp a vague memory surfaced in which it seemed to me that Ex-Libris might very well be the title of my long lost book. All I could recall for sure were secret letters and a dark library. But I did some research. And so, I finally purchased King's Ex-Libris and immediately read the first three chapters. I do believe that this is the book I began as a child, but I think that, in my mental recall over the years, I mashed it up with Kate Mosse's Labyrinth.

I said I had a forthcoming book of prose that I was considering placing with a POD later this year, and on a personal basis, Xlibris would not suit my own needs. I think for the less experienced authors, publishing for the first or second time, they may feel that Xlibris fills their needs. I have been counseled to never publish with a POD. I have been counseled to never turn my material over to anyone but a POD!

I was accepted by a publisher but it all appears to bog down in marketing and editorial. That was just the first of many phone calls encouraging me to upgrade to better publishing packages and more and more services. I finally had to tell my publishing consultant to stop calling me. The artist designed the illustrations for these particular dimensions. I was clueless until I received the first electronic galley and the book looked awful in an 8.

My concern too often with very large POD services is that the enthusiasm to up-sell authors add-ons seems to far outweigh the endeavor of companies to advise authors on the right package for their book. Anything short of this approach loads up the chances that you are going to be either disappointed in the customer service, quality or sales of your book. I am a first time author, just recently published through Xlibris.

I am grateful to them for the book which I am now proud to call my own, but in truth the process with them was taxing and, at times, I felt like I was bound in a contract with telemarketers. Where you saying that even though I own the copyright, if someone else chose to purchase it that I would have to start from scratch, in terms of design it is a picture book? Or does that mean I can not seek out an alternate publisher to submit it to now? I will write more books, and would like advice on the best way to to go now that I have tried Xlibris…and where to go with my current book to help make it successful.

Could you expand on these things please…I would be so grateful! Vanessa, I have the same story. Let me know if you received any guidance on getting a second editing on your book. I would appreciate the advice. I self publish my website http: The quality is excellent and my printer prints David Attenboroughs books so if is good enough for David it is good enough for me!! Te He PS total sales of 6 books I regret ever publishing with this company. I spent and got nothing. Xlibiris are a scam.

Mr blogger you are letting your readers down promoting scammers. Check out writer beware website for more info on Author Solutions Ripoffs for writers. If you Google them, their bad side shines much much brighter than anything good. I would use them with extreme caution. Xlibris, being a part of the Author Solutions empire, is a nightmare for marketing emails and phone calls, whether you publish with them or not!

I read that you can get your money back if you cancel before your book is published. I have just got off the phone with another Xlibris representative and I am annoyed. Three years ago I contacted them for some information on their packages and they began phoning me, even though I said I was not interested.

They made a call to my husband on his personal phone and then to the land line at my previous address in New Zealand. How did they get those numbers I wonder? I have again asked to be put on a no call list. This is the third time I have had a series of phone calls from them. I agree with the above two comments. Their marketing is close to harassment and a nightmare. I have no intention of using them and after reading the above, I am glad. Thanks for the review. Similar story with me. I was left wondering exactly the same thing — where did they get my phone number???

So that, I thought. But give them 6 months and the phone calls start again. This time I ignored them and they stopped. Just recently, the phone calls began again — 7 in 2 days. And this time, emails as well. So I responded to the emails reiterating I was not interested in publishing with them and to please stop harrassing me. Tempting as it was to hit back, I have marked this email as spam and let it go. If the phone calls begin again, I think it will be time to involve authorities. Unfortunately I do not know where you live.

In UK this could be reported as cold calling and cold calling is illegal in UK. You can take steps to have the company stop this. In the end I asked them not to calling me anymore and they still kept calling. Had to yell to get them to stop calling me, and a few months later, they call again. They keep upselling her. Beware of these creeps.

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The work they publish is poorly edited and illustrated and terribly expensive. Once they get their hooks into vulnerable would-be authors, they will never stop calling. For the record, my mother has mental illness. The figure I quoted is accurate. She is selling her investments to pay for her vanity publishing mania.

Please all…I made the mistake of publishing with Xlibris…now I want to end my contract and they are delaying everything. Please how can I do this? Which authority can I report this abuse? Wide range of packages http: Apart from making a mess of the first book submitted in early August They would not give me a refund of my second book that they never even published.

I am 80 years of age. Xlibris staff will only work within their remit. When they consider their job finished, you are on your own. Summers regarding my second book. I stated I was having great difficulty with the progress of the first one and little technical help was given.

He promised me he would have it all rectified and I was to notify him personally with any queries that I may have. Chaos ensued trying to work on the first book. Summers never answered ONE of my emails for help. There is no member of staff with good English, it took ages before a staff member answered any query that I submitted. After six emails I convinced her to stop using the word Ireland in the address. She did not know there was such a place as Northern Ireland which is very different from Ireland. Also the trigger words she gave me were totally irrelevant, such as Murder, Domestic abuse, Belfast, all these words brings one to sites where people seek help- not fiction at all.

I asked for them to be changed and eventually was told I was too late to do that, and the errors continued, my lack of I. Mr Summers replied after several emails that he was contacting their Finance Dept, he did no such thing. I sent numerous emails to every section of Xlibris I even wrote a personal letter to Mr. Andrew Phillips C E O.

Is Self Publishing With Xlibris Worth It?

I received no reply. The final insult was that Mr. During those eight months I received an email from Mr. With substantial help from Amazon I was able to cut all ties with Xlibris. The entire Company not only robed me of money, the hurt went much deeper. I feel very sorry for the people commenting on this page, they have definitely had a raw deal with Xlibris.

My experience has been quite the opposite. I published my autobiography last year Ice Cream on Thursdays and I cannot fault the procedure at all. I waited quite a while for my posters and book marks but the finished book was excellent. The proof reading and editing is second to none. I have just submitted my first novel to them for publishing and hope for the same excellent service. Great to read a positive review about xlibris. I regret being too cautious as I only received 5 soft covers and one hard cover. I found the galley daunting as I never thought to adjust the changes to my original manuscript copy at the time, not realising it would remain frozen in pdf format.

I still own the copywrite for the story and my art work including cover and 20 images throughout the book as It is my own sketching. I am currently checking their editing of my second book and love what they do. I have decided to to republish the first book Native Companions with xlibris as a premium package to include the editing, providing they offer me some add on features.

They are a marketing company and of course they are persistent. You can block them from your phone if you dont like them. They are not scammers, as they don,t take your money in return for nothing. I entered into their contract with my eyes wide open. They refunded me for one section of my package I decided not to proceed with and I now have to pay more for it by repeating the first publication. I have no regrets about this decision as I know how some people struggle all their lives to get a traditional publisher interested in their work, and a lot of good stories never get aired.

Self publishing is the way of the future, I feel, and if the book is any good you may get noticed, but if you intend to fulfill your dream, shell out or take on another hobby. How was your second experience? What package did you buy? He has read the full manuscript and tells me that he really likes it.

However, this is more about the company and not so much about him. Any advice would be helpful. So far, my experience has been very positive and my book is selling. I knew I would have to do a lot of the legwork myself, and did not mind that. I was just offered a couple of exibits and a shot at a movie presentation in Hollywood.

I am not going ot spend another dime at this point. I am 71 and just had cancer surgery. I was hoping the book would net me some cash to put away. I Have not expected royalties yet, but I guess I will see what happens when the time comes. I feel lucky so far if they are as bad as you say and I will confront them at the next opportunity. Thanks for all the comments.

I agree with Jeanette and had the opposite experience too. The production of the book was excellent. The margins, font and layout was really good. Two booksellers I know picked up on that. Xlibris also did a wonderful job with the book cover. This could be a real money trap and I have had to be very assertive in not getting overly sucked in here. Initially I did invest in a newswire and an ad in the Australian book Review, international book fair and a review to give the book a chance but that has been enough.

My personal efforts at selling my book have been more successful than the initial expensive marketing outlay which I doubt has done much. Xlibris continue to persist with pushing me to buy into more of this but I just let them make the international phone calls and waste their time. Thank you for your comments.

Yes I would agree their marketing strategy leaves a lot to be desired!. Constant phone calls etc. I do my own marketing and have my book for sale in my local coffee shop and museum as well as a couple of independent book sellers. I launched in our local library and with the costings for a few sandwiches and Sparkling wine had a very successful event. I have also had a call from the States to say my book is their book club read of the month and how much they are enjoying it and have a cheque from them to forward four more copies.

This resulted from a talk I gave to a group of American tourists when they visited locally and some bought my book to take home. You never know where your copies will end up. My novel is due out soon so here I go again. Just to follow up on my last post. It is posted by Xlibris on all booksellers websites and now the fun starts for me. The love triangle between Fowler, Pyle, and Phuong is an allegory for the war itself.

Fowler represents the interests of colonial Europe.

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And Phuong represents most Vietnamese in that she simply wants a live of security, peace, stability, and happiness. Despite the fact that the main characters are shallow, more or less unbelievable, and generally dislikeable, we really enjoyed the book.

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Xlibris – Reviewed

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