Book Review – TANCREDI by James Palumbo

Tancredi by James PalumboTancredi Synopsis :

Tancredi was born on the same day that scientists discovered a new star. It was so small it had gone unnoticed for millennia. Stargazers named it Surprise, in the spirit of a little astrological joke. On closer inspection they made another finding, this one less amusing. After a lifetime of obscurity the diminutive star intended to draw attention to itself. Activity on its surface indicated that one day it would go supernova. A star, so insignificant it had escaped detection, was destined to be the instrument of Armageddon across the Universe.

Humankind has become so riddled with the disease of short-termism that it ignores its fate. Tancredi decides to make it his mission to save the Earth. Made rich by his invention of the MoronOmeter, he buys a ticket for the space ship Invincible on its maiden voyage through the galaxy. It is a decision that will change everything. (Amazon)


Regular readers of Booklover Book Reviews will know I have a soft spot for authors who dare to speak of the white elephant in the room. It’s kind of like that one guy at a business cocktail party that started drinking a little earlier than everyone else. That guy who has lost his “filter” and is providing free advice on how other guests could better themselves. While outwardly we give reproving glances and ask ‘Who invited him?’, we are actually envious of his candour and inwardly applauding him for livening up the place.

In Tancredi, James Palumbo effectively takes an inventory of modern society’s weakness, puts them in a pinata and then takes a big stick to it. The ensuing display is disturbing, hilarious and enthralling in equal measure.

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I was a willing captive to James Palumbo’s Tancredi – a brutal, dark and shocking satire of our times.

Protagonist Tancredi is a hapless but altruistic young man intent on achieving something in life that betters mankind.

His first creation reflected his struggle to find meaning in a world obsessed with the quick and easy. The CrapOmeter was a machine programmed to identify myriad word combinations bearing the reek of excrement, its function to hold a mirror to the face of man’s conceits. On identification of an offending phrase, it sang out: ‘Crap Warning!’ But it was not a success, as mankind was addicted to this form of communication.

The real question, does mankind want to be saved? Tancredi is an optimist and rails against the old but true adage, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink, with at times disastrous but side-splitting consequences. I particularly enjoyed Tancredi’s chats with Kasbek, a stray dog he befriends on his adventures, and I will never look at anyone performing the can-can in the same way again.

James Palumbo’s Tancredi is an exceptionally clever, profound and entertaining tale that should be required reading for admission into today’s society. It’s a nice short read at only 183 pages (including wonderful illustrations) – highly recommended.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 /5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5

Tancredi by James Palumbo
Book Depository | Bookworld(Aus) | Kobobooks | B&N | Amazon

Genre: Humour, Literature, Sci-Fi-Fantasy, Action-Adventure

Author Information: James Palumbo is the co-founder and Chairman of Ministry of Sound Group, the international music and nightclub business. He was born in London in 1963, and educated at Eton College and Worcester College, Oxford. Tancredi is his second novel.

Other reviews of Tancredi: Fantasy Book Review ; Sawdust ; Urban Times

Other title by James Palumbo: Tomas

* I received a copy of this novel from Lilac London (on behalf of the author) for review purposes. My receiving this book for free in no way affected my ability to express my honest opinions about it.