Sunday, July 22, 2012

José Rodrigues dos Santos

Main masterpieces: 

  • A Ilha das Trevas (2004)
  • A Filha do Capitão (2005)
  • Codex 632 (2006)
  • A Fórmula de Deus (2007)
  • O Sétimo Selo (2007)
  • A Vida Num Sopro (2008)
  • Fúria Divina (2009)
  • O Anjo Branco (2010)
  • O Último Segredo (2011)

Historical period in literature: 
21st Century Literature

A journey as a writer

(Text from José Rodrigues dos Santos - The Author)

José Rodrigues dos Santos is a journalist, a lecturer at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a writer.  (...)
In 2002, a friend involved in a literary magazine asked José to write a short story for him. He had read War Chronicles and believed José was a novelist in waiting. José did not agree with his friend, but he owed him a favour.
So, drawing from his journalistic writing and radio drama scripting, José began writing a short story for the magazine. After a while, however, he realized his short story, written in two weeks, was 200 pages long. It became his first novel, The Island of Darkness (66 000 copies), the story of a family in East Timor during the years of the Indonesian occupation. At the outset, the book sold 6 000 copies. It wasn’t a bestseller, but it gave him the writing bug and two years later José finished his second novel, The Captain’s Daughter (125 000 copies) This was a story of love and betrayal set in World War I. In the first two weeks this 600 page novel did not sell. Then, after the main Portuguese news magazine fleetingly mentioned the book, sales erupted all over the country and the novel became one of 2004’s bestsellers in Portugal.
After The Captain’s Daughter, all José’s novels became instantaneous bestsellers, sold for translation in 18 languages.  
In 2005, José published Codex 632 (201 000 copies), an historical thriller focusing on the true identity of Christopher Columbus and his Iberian Jewish background, and based on actual documents. This novel became the third bestselling book of 2005 in Portugal and was longlisted for the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  
His next novel, The Einstein Enigma (184 000 copies), became the nº 1 bestselling book of 2006 in Portugal and was longlisted for the 2012 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It is a scientific thriller set in Portugal, Iran and Tibet concerning the Iranian nuclear crisis and the biggest quest of them all: the search for the scientific proof of God’s existence.  
José’s 2007 novel, The Seventh Seal (196 000 copies), is another thriller set in Antarctica, Portugal, Austria, Siberia and Australia and concerns the biggest immediate threats to human civilization: global warming and the end of oil. It became the second bestselling novel of 2007 in Portugal.  
In the following year he published Life in a Breath (144 000 copies), a story set in Portugal in the 1930s, involving a love affair, a murder, a political persecution and the Spanish Civil War. This novel became the nº 1 bestselling book of 2008 in Portugal.
His 2009 novel, The Wrath of God (187 000 copies), deals with two questions: what if Al-Qaeda has got the atomic bomb, and what if true Islam is radical Islam? Reviewed by a former operative of Al-Qaeda, the man who carried out Bin Laden’s first attack in Europe, this novel became the n.º 1 bestselling book of 2009 in Portugal and won the 2009 Porto Literary Club Award.
In 2010 he published The Last Interview of José Saramago, a short book on his conversations with the Portuguese Nobel of Literature laureate, who died this year.
José’s next work was The White Angel (158 000 copies), the story of a flying doctor in war-torn Mozambique who, one day, while visiting a remote village, comes across a terrible, dark secret. This novel is based on the life of the author’s own father and it became the nº1 bestselling book of 2010 in Portugal.
His latest novel is The Last Secret (150 000 copies), a mystery about the true identity of Jesus. The plot involves the serial killing of three academics and Tomás Noronha’s pursuit of the assassin. The quest takes him to the Holy Land, a search that leads him to who Jesus really was. All historical, biblical and scientific information in the novel is authentic.

La Formule de Dieu, a best-seller in France

La formule de Dieu, French edition of A Fórmula de Deus, was launched in early July in France by HC Editions, Paris, and became an immediate success, going straight to the top of sales of the magazine Livres Hebdo. The book is having an enthusiastic welcome by the public and critics, with the Metro Newspaper (2 million copies) saying that La formule de Dieu is the great success this summer, the 20 Minutes (4 million copies) said in a front page that the new Dan Brown is from Portugal and the Dauphine Libere announce that the novel is a masterpiece.
The Top FNAC France can be found at Meilleur Ventes Roman.
Review online from Metro on Metro France.


Some videos firsthand about his novels

A Fórmula de Deus (The Einstein Enigma, English edition

Fúria Divina (The Wrath of God, English edition)

O Último Segredo (The Last Secret, English edition)

Consulted sources:  

Portal da Literatura Portuguesa
The Official Website 

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