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Literature & Fiction

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (3 votes)

Released: 2015-12-08

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The Relic Master: A Novel by Christopher Buckley

Description

From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley, “one of the funniest writers in the English language” (Tom Wolfe), a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, Albrecht Dürer, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin.

The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic.

On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.


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Editoral Review

An Amazon Best Book of December 2015: Christopher Buckley is best known for his satirical treatment of contemporary politics, so at first blush The Relic Master seems like a departure. Set in the 1500s, the novel follows the exploits of Dismas the Relic Master, who partners with Albrecht Dürer (yes, the famous painter) to pit two wealthy relic collectors against one another. Greed, ego, and high jinks ensue as this smart, funny, fast-paced novel shows us that money and power have always corrupted, and if not always absolutely, at least in ways that will leave onlookers scratching their heads in wonder. Of course Dismas wants to separate his patron from as much money as possible; by setting the story in a different time and place, Buckley is able to dissect human behavior (and weirdness) where a more contemporary examination might just seem too personal. Plus, The Relic Master is a fun adventure novel set during a very interesting time in religious history. You’ll think, you’ll laugh, you may even wince at times—and you’ll be entertained. — Chris Schluep

Book Details

Author: Christopher Buckle.. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Binding: Hardcover Language: English Pages: 400

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