The Illuminator

  • by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
  • Narrated by Simon Jones
  • 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is England, in the 14th century, a time of plague, political unrest, and the earliest stirrings of the Reformation. The printing press had yet to be invented, and books were rare and costly, painstakingly lettered by hand and illuminated with exquisite paintings. Finn is a master illuminator who works not only for the Church but also, in secret, for John Wycliffe of Oxford, who professes the radical idea that the Bible should be translated into English for everyone to read. Finn has another secret as well, one that leads him into danger when he meets Lady Kathryn of Blackingham Manor, a widow struggling to protect her inheritance from the depredations of Church and Crown alike. Finn's alliance with Lady Kathryn will take us to the heart of what Barbara Tuchman once called "the calamitous fourteenth century". Richly detailed and irresistibly compelling, The Illuminator is a glorious story of love, art, religion, and treachery at an extraordinary turning point in history.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Historical Disaster

I always love Simon Jones and even enjoyed most of the story, but the author needs to do a little more historical research. She has confused the 14th Century with the 16th Century. Her idea of period dress goes much better 200 years in the future with laced up bodices, skirts, "petticoats" and snoods. The middle-class land-owners, yeomen, have been reduced to paid servants. The "shilling" makes a surprising introduction about 100 years too early and Laudanum, a tincture of poppy (opium) is way out of place by 400 years (poppy was available, just not as laudanum). There are so many more inacurate historical falsities that it was driving me crazy. I started keeping a list! I will say that some of what she has written about the priest John Wycliffe was well done, but. . . it was not enough to save this book. So if you don't like poorly done history, don't get this book. It will only disappoint you!
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- Katie Roe

extremely enjoyable

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love this era and already had familiarity with it, yet I still learned more by reading this novel. The overlay of spirituality in the piece also satisfied me, as the specifics of Julian of Norwich's visions and writings were new to me. The novel truly was one that I did not want to put down.
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- Peter A Jordan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-17-2005
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio