I love historical fiction and if you read my blog…you already know this. I especially love history when it involves England in the 1300’s with all the Kings and Queens and poets and peasants who are caught up in murder, deceit, treason and intrigue. This novel — A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger — was perfect for me during yet another round of snow and cold temps.
It is the year 1385, and King Richard II’s life is in mortal danger. There is a book that has been penned that prophesies all the deaths of England’s kings….it is now down to the last prophecy and it foretells the brutal murder of the King Richard II. The book is stolen, and there are many who wish to have their hands on this leather-bound volume of rhymes: those who wish to protect the king and those who wish to see the prophecy fulfilled.
The book opens with a murder of a young girl in a moor….bludgeon with a hammer…and there is a witness. A young maud AKA prostitute, Agnes, who is the only witness . After witnessing the horrible murder, Agnes is left with something that will connect her to this great conspiracy and will make her desirable for more than her trade.
Geoffrey Chaucer (yes, the poet) desperately wants to get his hands on the Burnable Book, so he asks his fellow poet and good friend, John Gower, to locate the book. This begins a thriller like no other. Who can you trust? What is in this book? Why are the drama of a one little poem?
The story…the plot was enough to keep me reading, but it was the characters who kept me invested in the story. I loved Agnes, and her sister Millicent. I adored John Gower and his background story with his son, Simon. My favorite character was Edgar/Eleanor….I was rooting for him and his/her younger brother through the whole book.
I love reading this genre so very much. I love being immersed in a different culture hundreds of years ago. I am in awe of Bruce Holsinger who is a medieval scholar and professor at the University of Virginia. His knowledge is one thing, but to be able to create a story so vivid and accurate of another time period…blows my mind. Than- you for that.