It’s London in 1385 and England has just crowned a new king, Richard II, whose youth and inexperience make his position perilous. Songs are heard across London––catchy verses and quatrains from this seditious “burnable book”––that threaten the stability of the realm since among the book’s predictions is the assassination of King Richard II himself. None other than poet Geoffrey Chaucer enlists his corrupt yet connected friend John Gower to help find this book before its prophecies become a full-blown scandal. Yet they discover that the book––and incriminating evidence about its author––has fallen into the hands of young prostitutes who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from as high as the king’s court to as low as the slums and brothels of 14th century London. Rarely before has medieval London been rendered with such learned care and historic precision. Bawdy, brilliant, and breathtaking in its authenticity, I predict this debut could be a huge success.
A prolific and award-winning scholar of the medieval period who teaches at the University of Virginia, Bruce Holsinger’s books on medieval culture have won numerous prizes from the Modern Language Association, the Medieval Academy of America, and other scholarly organizations. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies.