March 24, 2014
A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger (Review)
Author: Bruce Holsinger
First published: 2014
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In the times of Richard II and Chaucer strange rumors and verses start to spread through London. The verses predict the death of Richard II with frightening exactness and the rumor is they come from a book of ancient prophesies... The book travels from lords to bawds, leaving corpses on its way. Meanwhile, the fateful St. Dunstan's day mentioned in the prophesy approaches...
There is everything in this book that you can wish for in a historical fiction novel: a lot of details of everyday life, an old map of London (I love maps!), intrigue, mystery, danger and the love of books. It not only has quite a few remarkable female characters, is has a transgender character! I was... well, confused with Eleanor/Edgar at first, but then I realized that he/she works well in the plot: he/she decides in which situations it's more efficient to dress as a man and when - as a woman, and therefore is able to transgress certain limitations of gender.
Sometimes it was a bit difficult to keep straight all the characters at court, but by the end of the book everything fell into place. Some of the characters' motivations were left unclear to me, but overall the intrigue was well rounded. Although bawds have a lot of action in the book, there is nothing very coarse in the descriptions and the language, which I really appreciated (OK, I guess I'm mentioning it just because I'm reading another Martin right now, lol!). Overall, if I wasn't sure Holsinger is a man, I'd say the book is written by a woman. Rarely do men have so many distinct and interesting female characters in their books. Bravo!
In my book:
A very entertaining and well-researched historical mystery. Perfect relaxing read!