Crazy complex, a meditation on humanity and civilization. Divided into three parts, the first after what seems to have been a nuclear war, the second partway into a time of political consolidation and the rise of nation-states, but also the rebirth of scholarship, and the third at a toe-to-toe arms face-off. There are threads that connect the three very disparate sections; the canticle for Leibowitz standing in for the concept of knowledge, the monastery devoted to knowledge preservation, a wild-haired wanderer, the themes of humanity. Each section revolves partly around life at the monastery and a particular issue of their time. Being largely unfamiliar with the structure of the Catholic church, I felt a little hampered at times as some of the concepts Miller plays with seem to do with Church structure, and faith, and certainly a number of references seem to be in Latin. It didn't hamper reading, by any means, but I can't help wonder if it affected how I read Miller's larger messages, especially as the last third seems to deal with elemental questions of conceptual sin. The characters are used to illustrate the larger issues, but many are still well crafted and interesting. Brother Francis drew me into the book in the first section. There was a well rounded and interesting cast in the second, but the third seemed to be mere props for the message. A thoughtful and classic book. "Both he and they knew that he had only been reading the palm of a plan, had been describing a hope and not a certainty."