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A challenging, big, historical novel steeped in fact and really quite an excellent history lesson. It seems Geoffrey Chaucer has lost an important book that has been tampered with and its content is now treasonable. It contains a secret some will murder for. But this is no Dan Brown. This is serious historical stuff, difficult to know where fact and fiction part. It concerns a plot against Richard II and if you are into medieval history it is superb, full of lovely names of different areas depicting the trades associated with it, like Gropecunt Lane! Fascinating.
A stunning debut historical thriller set in the turbulent 14th Century for fans of CJ Sansom, The Name of the Rose and An Instance of the Fingerpost. London, 1385. A city of shadows and fear, in a kingdom ruled by the headstrong young King Richard II, haunted by the spectre of revolt. A place of poetry and prophecy, where power is bought by blood. For John Gower, part-time poet and full-time trader in information, secrets are his currency. When close confidant, fellow poet Geoffrey Chaucer, calls in an old debt, Gower cannot refuse. The request is simple: track down a missing book. It should be easy for a man of Gower's talents, who knows the back-alleys of Southwark as intimately as the courts and palaces of Westminster. But what Gower does not know is that this book has already caused one murder, and that its contents could destroy his life. Because its words are behind the highest treason - a conspiracy to kill the king and reduce his reign to ashes...
Closing date: 11/08/2019
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Nailah Afghan - 'Drawing on real historical figures to add depth and realism to the plot, Bruce Holsinger has created a real page turner of a mystery which I would highly recommend.' Read full review >
Jan Kirkcaldy - 'A clever, well written book and a very good social history lesson. I enjoyed it.' Read full review >
Linda Birt - 'Historical fiction at its very best, combining fact and fiction in a page turning debut thriller.' Read full review >
Teresa Majury - 'A well-paced but complex story with many twists and turns.' Read full review >
Peter Land - 'This book has everything – history, love, deceit, sex and violence and reveals not only the politics of the 14th Century court, but also the politics of the street.' Read full review >
Clair Chaytors - 'Historical writing at its best… If you liked Hilary Mantel you will love Bruce Holsinger… ' Read full review >
Glynis Elliott - 'An Insight into Medieval England.' Read full review >
Anita Wallas - 'London 1385. A missing book filled with dark prophecy. A monarchy under threat. Murder, conspiracy and treason. A debut tour de force which will keep you hooked from the first page.' Read full review >
Jane Carter - 'A wonderful tale of historical intrigue.' Read full review >
Vanessa Wild - 'Combining fact with fiction, A Burnable Book is a well paced, absorbing and exciting historical thriller...evocatively written and gripping to the last page.' Read full 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.'
'An enjoyable story of murder and intrigue in 14th-century London'
'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'
'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
Publication date: 28/08/2014
Publisher: Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 30/01/2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
|Publication date:||28th August 2014|
|Publisher:||Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, Historical Fiction,|
|Categories:||Historical mysteries, Thriller / suspense,|
Bruce W. Holsinger is a prolific and award-winning scholar of the Middle Ages who teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His books on medieval culture have won numerous prizes from the Modern Language Association, the Medieval Academy of America, and other scholarly organizations, and he is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies, Flicks, and Film. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Council of Learned Societies. A Burnable Book is his first novel. Author photo © Daniel AddisonMore About Bruce Holsinger