In the first years of the reign of Manuel I Komnenos, on a deserted coast of Propontis, Stavrakios Kladas evaporates his long life. A notary and copyist himself all his years, having copied hundreds of books by saints and rational men, he decides, now free, to write his own chronography.
His pen tells his life, a story of teenage loneliness and manuscripts. a whirlwind of mental dilemmas, persecutions, loves and anxieties at the dawn of the Komnenian dynasty in the late 11th century. The life of ordinary people during the reign of the Romans, the culture of speech and image, but above all the touch of memory. All the agony of man in a book, which not only narrates the search for the heavenly kingdom, but also mentions earthly life and the Hoic soul.
Its pages reflect the Byzantine Empire at a time when threatening shadows from the East and the West are increasing. In the novel the first word is not the court conspiracies and the deadly battles, but the light from the lamps of the copyists, which bend over the synaxaries of the saints and the dissertations of the letters. Through its pages emerge the supreme philosopher Michael Psellos, Saint Nikitas Stathatos, scholars, monks, hagiographers… But in the center of all is the verse of an enigmatic poem and a woman, the inner garment of the hero’s soul, the garment that underlies the torturous robe.
This book is about the power of writing and memory, about this momentum that requires us to name the things of the world from the beginning with our own soul as our sponsor.