The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms: How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn't Mean To

The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms: How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn't Mean To

Title:The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms: How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn't Mean To
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781451678482
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:336 pages

A wild, rollicking novel on chance, friendship, love, regret, and the entire history of the twentieth century.

Johan Thoms is poised for greatness. A promising student at the University of Sarajevo, he is young, brilliant, and in love with the beautiful Lorelei Ribeiro. He can outwit chess masters, quote the Kama Sutra, and converse with dukes and drunkards alike. But he cannot drive a car in reverse. And as with so much in the life of Johan Thoms, this seemingly insignificant detail will prove to be much more than it appears. On the morning of June 28, 1914, Johan takes his place as the chauffeur to Franz Ferdinand and the Royal entourage, and with one wrong turn, he forever alters the course of history.

Blaming himself for the deaths of the Archduke and his wife, Johan hastens from the scene, and for once his inspired mind cannot process what to do next. Guilt-ridden, he flees Sarajevo, abandoning his friends, family, and beloved in the fear that he has caused them irreparable grievance. He watches in horror as the Great War unfolds, every death settling squarely on Johan’s conscience. Turning his back on his old life, Johan does his best to fade out of memory.

But the world has other plans for Johan Thoms. As each passing year burdens Johan with further guilt for his inaction, he seeks solace in his writing and in the makeshift family he has assembled around himself. With everyone from emperors to hooligans at his side, and pursued by the ever-determined Lorelei, Johan winds his way through Europe and the Twentieth Century, leaving his indelible mark on both.


    The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms: How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century But Didn't Mean To Reviews

  • Ellinor

    It's very difficult for me to rate this book. I really liked Joan Thoms, the main character, with his cleverness but also with all his quirks. He's an extraordinary person and I really felt for him.On...

  • Bettie

    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]...

  • Nathon

    This is an incredible story with so many layers that you almost have to read it twice. Other reviewers have sited the author's wonderful ability with a turn of phrase and indeed the book is chock-a-bl...

  • Y. C.

    I finished this book last night, and overall it was a pretty good read. Only problem? It was bit slow and tedious. I loved the characters. Johan was a weird kid and adult, but his quirkiness was endea...

  • Brandon Forsyth

    Really disappointing. I love the set-up for this novel, but this is lazy, uninspired writing that offends almost every sensibility I have. It was somewhere in between the main character leaving the lo...

  • Stephanie

    My Summary: Johan Thoms is a genius. Literally. He frequently dazzles his colleagues with displays of his sparkling wit and vast knowledge. Nobody expected 'the man who knows everything' not to know h...

  • Phillippa Fraser

    What if you had made a mistake of such monumental proportions that you could never, ever, ever escape it? What if the direct consequences of your mistake stacked up on battle-fields, ripped the lives ...

  • Peter Whitehead

    It's a great read! I'm on my second read of this book after having enjoyed it the first time round immensely! I love the premise - that a seemingly insignificant yet highly intelligent young man with ...

  • Esil

    Some of the initial reviews and ratings for this book seem somewhat harsh. It is certainly well written and parts of it present a lovely quirky set of characters meandering through the first half of t...

  • Greg

    Too bad. My hopes were high going into this. It seems like the marketing wants to position this as this year's 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared. Sadly, it doesn't have the c...