Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.
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This is a finely written novel that will pull you in and keep you guessing until the very end. I listened to this on audiobook, so there were a few times that I thought I must be getting close to the end only to be surprised by another plot twist. I am not a great reader of mysteries, so I will not say more than that I was shocked several times.
The cast of characters in this book is large with intricately woven backgrounds. Each time a little connection was made, I was impressed by the author's cleverness. The main character is John Gower, close friend of Geoffrey Chaucer, who also makes several appearances. From transvestite London prostitutes to Italian papal legates, Holsinger ties them together expertly. The reader also gets glimpses of Richard II, John of Gaunt, and Katherine Swinford.
Rich in historical detail and beautifully written, the mystery seems almost second to just dwelling in 14th century daily life. Everything centers around a book of prophesies, "The Book of the Deaths of English Kings" which John Gower is on a quest to locate. People are dying to get it...or because they have it. But does it really prophesy the death of Richard II?
I would like to read this book again (rather than listen to it) because there was a lot to keep track of with the numerous characters, locations, and plot twists and connections. I feel like I just might have missed a few things. However, listening to it was also enjoyable because the Audible narrator was excellent. Different voices & accents made this book truly come to life, and his voice is so lovely I could listen to him read a dishwasher repair manual. Then there's that gorgeous cover! This is a great book for anyone who enjoys medieval history or mysteries.