Template:Infobox Book Q is a novel by Luther Blissett first published in Italian in 1999. The novel is set in Europe during the 16th century, and deals with Protestant reformation movements.

The multi-use name "Luther Blissett" was used as a nom de plume by four Italian authors, Roberto Bui, Giovanni Cattabriga, Federico Guglielmi and Luca Di Meo. The four were part of the so-called "Luther Blissett Project", which ended in 1999. Now they write under the "Wu Ming" name.

The novel, originally published in Italian, has been translated into several languages. All of the editions keep the original copyright statement, which allows for non-commercial reproduction of the book.


The book follows the journey of an Anabaptist radical across Europe in the first half of the 16th century as he joins in various movements and uprisings that come as a result of the Protestant reformation. The book spans 30 years as he is pursued by 'Q', a spy for the Roman Catholic Church cardinal Giovanni Pietro Carafa. The main character, who changes many names during the story, first fights in the Peasants' War beside Thomas Müntzer, then is in Münster's siege, during the Münster Rebellion, and some years later, in Venice.

Interpretations and controversyEdit

Throughout Europe, several critics have read Q from a political point of view,[1] and maintain that the novel is an allegory of European society after the decline of the 1960s and 1970s protest movements. As in the 16th century the Counter-Reformation repressed any alternative theological current or radical social movement, and the Peace of Augsburg sanctioned the partition of the continent among Catholic and Protestant powers, so the last twenty years of the 20th century were marked by a vengeful rebirth of conservative ideologies, and the IMF-driven corporate globalization of the economy seemed to rout any resistance.

This interpretation stems from the authors themselves describing Q as a "handbook of survival skills", which might cast a revealing light on the book's ending. Is it appropriate to read out of metaphor the fact that the hero eventually finds shelter among Muslims in the Ottoman Empire?

However, this is just one of the many interpretations emerged in the aftermath of publication. According to other readers and critics,[2] Q is a thinly disguised autobiography of Luther Blissett as a subversive, identity-shifting collective phantom. In fact, the protagonist has no name (and it must be pointed out that the authors later renamed themselves Wu Ming, which is Chinese for "no name"), is involved in every tumult of the age, incites the people to rebellion, and organizes hoaxes, swindles and mischievous acts.

Both British novelist Stewart Home and American novelist David Liss have given an interpretation of Q as an "anti-novel", although their respective analyses bring to different conclusions. While Home's review put the emphasis on the social, political and subcultural references embedded in the plot,[3] Liss' review dismissed the book as unnecessary and self-referential.[4]

Yet other readers have expressed the opinion that Q — apart from radicalism, postmodernism, and allegories — is above all an adventure novel, a swashbuckler in the very Italian tradition of Emilio Salgari and other popular feuilleton authors.[5]

News of film adaptationEdit

Rumours about a film adaptation of Q have been circulating since the first publication of the book, but they have never turned into reality.

On December 9, 2007, British newspaper The Observer published a lengthy interview with Radiohead. In that context, Thom Yorke talked about the experience of reading Q: "Oh it's fucking ace! But my missus, that's her specialist field, so she's been explaining it to me all the way through. Medieval church carnage. It's mental. I want to get it made into a film. That's my next mission." Then the interviewer asked: " Using the In Rainbows profits?", to which Yorke replied: "I doubt it. That would cover basically the catering."[6]

Characters and eventsEdit

Peasants' War

Münster Rebellion




The following are printed editions. Downloadable online editions in several languages can be found here.



See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

es:Q (novela) it:Q (romanzo) pl:Q. Taniec śmierci pt:Q, O Caçador de Hereges

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.