About The Master’s Book:
Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene... In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels. The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once. Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it? Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.
Book can be found at: GoodReads | Amazon
Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.
Author Sites: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads
Philip Coleman’s Top Ten Cities and TownsThe choice is weighted very much in favour of Europe because, although I have travelled elsewhere, I live in mainland Europe and know it much better.
Italy has a number of great cities but Venice is unique in the world, occupying a special place in European culture. It is the city of artists like Tintoretto and Bellini, and composers such as Monteverdi and Gabrielli. But is has also inspired numerous English and American writers, including Henry James, Ezra Pound, L.P. Hartley, Daphne du Maurier and Ian McEwan. The mixture of old-world charm and slightly sinister decay is captivating. If you want to get a feel for it, read John Berendt’s The City of Falling Angels.
Next to Venice, Kafka’s home town is probably the most beautiful city in Europe in my opinion, though very touristy. It has what I consider to be the most beautiful bridge in the world and a delightful old town. The enormous castle that dominates the skyline, is the castle of Kafka’s novel of that name, while the cathedral in the castle precinct also features in his novel, The Trial.
Poland’s cities suffered horrors in WWII. Many were being totally destroyed and had to be painstakingly reconstructed. Krakow, which was the principal city of Poland for centuries before Warsaw came to prominence, escaped destruction. It is almost as beautiful as Prague, while being less touristy and offering better food. The fact that the charming Jewish quarter is now practically empty of Jews, and the proximity of Auschwitz-Birkenau, are grim reminders of the past.
4. New York
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Did you know that it never sleeps? And that if you can make it there you’ll make it anywhere? Seriously, though, the skyscraper architecture of Wall Street, the brown stone hoses of Greenwich Village, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and the High line are all beautiful in their own right.
This city is most famous for its connection with Gaudi. His unfinished Sagrada Familia church, his Parc Guell and several houses that he designed or restored are among the jewels of the city. However, Barcelona also has a charming old town with a superb cathedral. The food is superb and, like New York, the city never sleeps.
People who haven’t been there, or those who go on EU business and come straight home, think this city is ugly. Indeed, parts of it are. However, parts are beautiful. There is also plenty of art to see by masters such as Breughel and Magritte, as well as beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. Again, the food is excellent. And Bruges and Ghent, two of Europe’s most beautiful towns, are only a day trip away. Anyway, it was my home city for three years and, despite some frustrations, I loved it.
This beautiful city, built on steeply-rising hills with an imposing castle on the highest, is easily the most beautiful city I’ve seen in the UK. If you go there during the Festival and Fringe Festival there is nowhere quite like it. With the castle and the well-preserved old town it is sometimes called the Prague of the North.
If Edinburgh is the Prague of the North, then Amsterdam, with its network of canals, is the Venice of the North (though that title is also given to Bruges). The city of Rembrandt and Anne Frank is beautifully preserved, with charming Dutch houses flanking the canals. It’s also delightfully informal. And it’s easy to get around on foot or by bike.
Since I’m Irish I had to include one Irish city and, in that case, it would have to be Galway, which I believe has more charm and atmosphere than Dublin. It has a lively pub culture, great seafood and overlooks the beautiful Galway Bay, with the county Clare coast in the background. Still, Cork came close.
My visit to Brazil by-passed the big cities of Rio, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. I spent two weeks in this charming, garden-like town in the province of Parana. It has a wooden Russian church with onion-top towers and a glass opera house.
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Full list of tour stops can be found HERE