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.
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Couldn't Be Better!
Yes! Simon Vance is mesmerizing.
They are numerous. I have a great many audio books in my library, but this is the first one that I'm planning to listen to a second time.
Same excellent characterization as Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell series, but tighter, darker plotting.
No; I'm trying to stretch it out so it does not end.
Go to the Amazon site for this book, and click "Look Inside." There you'll find a map and list of characters that will be most helpful.
- Patrick M. Dennis
I wanted to like this..
Definitely Simon Vance again. He is one of my favorite narrators. As for Bruce Holsinger, no. I wanted to like this book - it is just my type -historical murder mystery set in Medieval London, but I just couldn't get into it. I kept expecting it to get more interesting, but it remained boring. For me none of the characters stood out as real people, and I didn't care what happened to them. I tried several times to get through, to see if I just hadn't been in the right mood, but I ended up abandoning it yet again.
Currently I am listening to Andrew Solomon's 'Far From The Tree', and, given that it is 33 hours long, I have no idea what I will want to listen to next.
I pretty much would listen to Simon Vance read a Cheerios box.
The descriptions of life in Medieval London were good.
- Annie Fitt