A Burnable Book: A Novel

Paperback | September 23, 2014

byBruce Holsinger

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In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, royal intrigue, mystery, and dangerous politics swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings. Bruce Holsinger's A Burnable Book is an irresistible historical thriller reminiscent of the classics An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose, and The Crimson Petal and the White.

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford—England's young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end 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 labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews—and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

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 epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

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From the Publisher

In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, royal intrigue, mystery, and dangerous politics swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings. Bruce Holsinger's A Burnable Book is an irresistible historical thriller reminiscent of the classics An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose, and...

From the Jacket

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, said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends of England's kings—including Richard's assassina...

Bruce Holsinger is the author of the first John Gower novel,A Burnable Book, and an award-winning scholar of the medieval period who teaches at the University of Virginia. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.74 inPublished:September 23, 2014Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062240331

ISBN - 13:9780062240330

Customer Reviews of A Burnable Book: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A burnable book Well written by a scholar who can speak to the masses. The intrigue builds chapter by chspter, as you quickly find yourself immersed in the London of Chau error and Richard II. A most enjoyable read.
Date published: 2014-12-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Swamped by the details With a plot that is quite daunting, I dove in to what appeared to be a delicious historical fiction. However the details are in the devil. Too many characters, too many settings, too much intrigue make this only bearable and ended up being quite a slog. I understand the author is an expert on this time period, but really! Did he have to squeeze in everything he knows?
Date published: 2014-04-03

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Editorial Reviews

“Spellbinding . . . A Burnable Book exemplifies the best in historical fiction.”