Narrated By: Tim Bruce
Duration: 14 hours and 8 minutes
What to expect
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…
Crime & mystery fiction, Historical fiction
Listen to a sample
‘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.’ Crime Review
‘An enjoyable story of murder and intrigue in 14th-century London’ Sunday Times
‘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’ Daily Mail
‘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