Short Take: The Invention of Fire – Bruce Holsinger

Medieval scholar Holsinger proved his chops as a writer of historical fiction with last year’s debut A Burnable Book, which NPR called “fragrant with the stench of medieval London. . . . The central mystery of the book leads us through the mucky lanes of London, with cunning surprises around every corner. . . . jam-packed tapestry of medieval England.” This new novel, involving the invention of handguns, continues to feature poet John Gower and looks destined to win Holsinger even more fans.

“In London in 1386, the bodies of 16 unidentified men, who have been slaughtered in some unknown fashion, are found in a public privy. Poet John Gower, a colleague of Geoffrey Chaucer, is asked to look into the deaths by Ralph Strode, an old friend who was once a criminal court judge. Strode warns him that not everyone is eager for a solution….Holsinger is equally adept at depicting the machinations of the rich and powerful and the fears and hopes of the working class, ‘desperate to hold on to their small scraps of ground in the face of the great events unfolding around them.’”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This excellent period mystery is narrated in a gloriously earthy language that is, long before Shakespeare and the King James Bible, still in the process of taking shape. Fans of the previous book as well as aficionados of the historical genre won’t be able to put this novel down. ”
Library Journal (starred review)

The Invention of Fire (9780062356451) by Bruce Holsinger. $26.99 hardcover. 4/21/15 on sale.

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