A historical thriller set in 1660. An unimposing book seller is sent on a journey to find a missing manuscript. Alternating with the chapters about his search are the chapters about the beginning of the mystery - the stage being set about 40 years before. Many of the characters mentioned in the later part of the story and alive and active in the earlier part of the story.
There are all the elements of a historical thriller: clues, mystery, killings, puzzles to be solved, travel from place to place to secure enough clues to solve the mysteries and puzzles.
Involved also are elements of British history from the mid 17th Century: kings, deposition of kings, revolutions, Protestant vs. Catholic. The means of transit - coaches, barges, all sorts of boats - are specific to the time and place and described in detail.
Also described in detail are books - how they are bound, stored, made, taken apart and repaired.
I am glad of other books I've read over the years that had given me some background for this one: 1632 (fiction about the 30 years war), the Book on the Bookshelf (history of the book - non-fiction).
Although this is a genre I enjoy usually, this book was interesting, but not gripping. It was easy to put it down and engage in other activities.
What a treat to read a book by an author who can write well! And not only do the words flow across the pages, but the story is full of historical details that make this time period in Europe very real. I loved the mysterious adventure that the main character, Isaac Inchbold, was unwittingly pulled into, though at times I got lost between the shifting scenes.
I did not finish this book - it moved too slowly for me.
King weaves a rich tapestry with epic battles, rare manuscripts, the sack of ancient libraries and more into a compelling and fascinating tale. Though overly complex at times, I found it well worth the effort.