The Illuminator

The Illuminator

Book - 2005
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It is England, in the late fourteenth century, a time when the whim of a lord or the pleasure of a bishop can seal nearly anyone's fate. The printing press has yet to be invented. Books, written only in Latin or Norman French, are rare and costly, painstakingly lettered and illuminated with exquisite paintings - far beyond the reach of ordinary people.But there are cracks in the old feudal order - and in the absolute power of the Church. Finn is a master illuminator who works not only for the Church but also, in secret, for the heretical Oxford cleric John Wycliffe. Under the nose of the powerful Abbot of Broomholm, Finn illuminates pages for Wycliffe - an English translation of the Bible, meant to bring the word of God to the masses. And Finn has another secret, one that will lead both himself and his beloved daughter into ever-increasing peril.Lady Kathryn, the mistress of Blackingham Manor, is a widow who finds herself caught between the King's taxes and the Church's tithes. To protect her sons' inheritance, she strikes a bargain with the abbot - Kathryn will take in the illuminator and his daughter, and gain the monastery's protection. What begins as a hesitant friendship between Finn and Lady Kathryn grows into a passionate alliance that touches off a chain of betrayals, tragedies, and unexpected acts of heroism.Richly detailed and irresistibly compelling, The Illuminator is a glorious novel of love, art, religion, and treachery at an extraordinary turning point in history.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312331917
0312331916
Branch Call Number: VANTREASE B
Characteristics: 406 p. ; 25 cm.

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Librarian_Deb Jul 05, 2017

Set in Britain in the 14th century. I adored the bits of history intertwined with the lives of, what to me were very compelling and believable characters. Lady Katherine is trying to keep her household estate of Blackinham together, which is not easy as a widow. The church officials keep coming t... Read More »


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PTRamz
Jul 30, 2017

While the reviews on this book are promising, it's really nothing more than a romance novel in fancy dress. It's formulaic. I read about a chapter and then returned it.

Librarian_Deb Jul 05, 2017

Set in Britain in the 14th century. I adored the bits of history intertwined with the lives of, what to me were very compelling and believable characters. Lady Katherine is trying to keep her household estate of Blackinham together, which is not easy as a widow. The church officials keep coming to demand more money, and the state keeps levying taxes. She has the future of her 15 year old twin sons to consider, so when more income in the form of a boarder and his daughter is offered to her she accepts the offer. Her life becomes entangled with the boarder--an illuminator named Finn--and his daughter Rose in more ways than she could have imagined when they first came to live with her.
These ordinary people are involved in big things, and as the political battles of the state and the church go on around them they cannot help but become involved. A chief issue is the translation of the Bible into English, championed by John Wycliffe but bitterly opposed by the church. Thus catholic church and government officials are often the villains in this book, but the main villain is an ordinary steward taking advantage of his mistress and causing havoc wherever he goes. I loved the unlikely heroes in the story, like Half-Tom the dwarf and Magda the simple (yet wise) servant girl.
I just loved this story, it had enough suspense to keep me going, but I also enjoyed the bits of historical detail and the intriguing characters. Fans of historical fiction or religious thrillers should give it a try.

o
olgalivshin
Mar 04, 2011

Borrowed Oct, 24, 2010

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