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Excerpt From Burnable Book

Excerpt From Burnable Book

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Published by WilliamMorrowBooks
In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings

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—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends 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 conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews—and potentially implicates Gower's own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that John Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may hold the key to saving the king, and England itself.

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 literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.
In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings

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—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends 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 conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews—and potentially implicates Gower's own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that John Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may hold the key to saving the king, and England itself.

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 literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

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Published by: WilliamMorrowBooks on Feb 07, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/28/2014

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cast of characters 
ENGLISH ROYALS, MAGNATES, AND RELATIONS
Richard II,
king, son of Prince Edward (the Black Prince)
John of Gaunt,
Duke of Lancaster, brother of Prince Edward 
Henry of Bolingbroke,
 son and heir to John of Gaunt 
Joan,
Countess of Kent,
 
mother of King Richard II 
Robert de Vere,
 Earl of Oxford 
Stephen Weldon,
knight of Oxford’s faction
Katherine Swynford,
 governess and consort to John of Gaunt, sister- in- law of Geoffrey Chaucer 
Robert Braybrooke,
bishop of London
William Wykeham,
bishop of Winchester 
Michael de la Pole,
 Baron de la Pole and lord chancellor of England 
Isabel Syward,
 prioress of St. Leonard’s Bromley 
OFFICERS OF THE CITY OF LONDON AND SERVANTS OF THE CROWN
Thomas Pinchbeak,
 serjeant- at- law
Ralph Strode,
common serjeant of London
James Tewburn,
his clerk
 
viii 
cast of characters
Nicholas Symkok,
clerk to the king’s coroner of London
Richard Bickle,
 goldsmith of London,
 
beadle of Cheap Ward 
Thomas Tugg,
keeper of Newgate Prison
Geoffrey Chaucer,
controller of the wool custom
Philippa Chaucer,
his wife, sister of Katherine Swynford 
COMMON WOMEN OF LONDON AND SOUTHWARK 
Eleanor/Edgar Rykener,
maudlyn of Gropecunt Lane, London
Mary Potts,
maudlyn of Gropecunt Lane
Agnes Fonteyn,
maudlyn of Gropecunt Lane
Joan Rugg,
their bawd 
Bess Waller,
bawd of the Pricking Bishop; mother of Agnes Fonteyn
St. Cath,
maudlyn of the Pricking Bishop
TRADESMEN, FREEMEN OF LONDON AND SOUTHWARK,  AND COMMONERS
John Gower
of Southwark, esquire and poet 
Will Cooper,
his servant 
Simon Gower,
his son, clerk to Sir John Hawkwood 
Mark Blythe,
mason of Southwark
George Lawler,
 spicerer of Cornhul
Jane Lawler,
his wife
Denise Haveryng,
widow of Cornhull 
Nathan Grimes,
master butcher of Cutter Lane, Southwark
Tom Nayler,
his first apprentice
Gerald Rykener,
his second apprentice and ward; brother of Eleanor/Edgar 
Millicent Fonteyn,
 singlewoman of Cornhull; sister of Agnes Fonteyn
Sam Varney,
 gravedigger 

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