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A Burnable Book (John Gower 1) Hardcover – 30 Jan 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition (First Printing/UK) edition (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007493304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007493302
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘This is a rich novel…Bruce Holsinger is a leading American scholar of the Middle Ages and his debut novel combines detailed knowledge of the period with an undoubted gift for gripping storytelling’ BBC History magazine

‘This book has almost everything you could want in a historical fiction – rich in period detail and driven by a compulsively engaging and tangled story…The characters are well drawn, the social mores related in unapologetic detail and his multi-layered plot shows a superb storytelling fluency comparable with C.J. Sansom and Nancy Bilyeux.’ Crime Review

‘An enjoyable story of murder and intrigue in 14th-century London’ Sunday Times

‘Holsinger carries the reader to Oxford, Italy and Spain, but the highlight is his description of medieval London with its murky, poverty-stricken streets…enjoyable and intelligent’ Daily Mail

‘His profound knowledge of the 14th century provides a wonderfully convincing backdrop… his London feels like a real place, from St Paul’s churchyard to Southwark’s Gropecunt Lane. Comparisons with C.J. Sansom are inevitable, and justified’ Andrew Taylor, Spectator

‘John Gower is the perfect narrator and amateur sleuth …Holsinger's research, alongside the energetic vulgarity of a language in flux, delivers up a world where even the filth is colorful’ New York Times Book Review

‘A murder, a verse and a whore; the prologue of Bruce Holsinger`s A BURNABLE BOOK draws the reader in and does not let go. A deep understanding of the period combines with sophisticated writing to create a richly imagined world. Excellent historical fiction’ Harry Sidebottom, bestselling author of the WARRIOR OF ROME series

‘A lush bibliomaniac thriller… Holsinger is a graceful guide to the 14th century, lacing his thriller with just the right seasoning of antique words and all the necessary historical detail without any of the fusty smell of a documentary’ Ron Charles Washington Post

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 January 2014
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 February 2014
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