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In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings
London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford—England's young king, Richard II, is in mortal peril. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends of England's kings—and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book," a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.
Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews—and potentially implicates Gower's own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that John Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may hold the key to saving the king, and England itself.
Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail—on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels—to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.
I enjoyed reading this book. Its salacious intrigue made it difficult to stop reading and the old world slang was fun learn. I look forward to the next book.Published 1 month ago by Gilbert Chavez
Richly imagined characters, lively writing and an intricate, spellbinding plot make this a pleasure to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by barista
Fantastic. A great debut. Vivid characters, excellent mystery and plot, fantastic depiction of medieval London. You can practically smell the city. Excellent book.Published 2 months ago by Lynn
The author does a fabulous job bringing time and place alive using descriptive language and strong narrative. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barbara Ferrara
I thoroughly enjoyed "A Burnable Book". All the characters were fascinating, but 14th century London was the main character for me, and Bruce Holsinger made it come alive. Read morePublished 2 months ago by L. Bos
I loved this book. Holsinger writes about a very remote time in history with such rigor, such aplomb, and such vision that to be honest with you, it makes me a little jealous. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Constance Goodwin
While the thriller about a treasonable book is satisfying and propulsive, the real pleasure in this book is the heart-breaking stories of two sisters, of a sister and her brother,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Godden
Hillary Mantel fans, ahoy! Richly textured, witty, gossipy in the best way possible, seeped in historical detail. Read morePublished 2 months ago by true_modern
Loved the historical specificity, though I expected that from an established academic historian! Great humor throughout. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jen