From a master historian -- a brilliantly original historical novel set in late-14th century London.
"I am sister to the day and night. I am sister to the woods." Sister Clarisse, a nun in the House of St. Mary at Clerkenwell, experiences visions. She dreams of the English King. Are her prophesies the babblings of the crazed? Or can she "see" a future in which Henry Bolingbroke overthrows Richard II?
This clever and colourful novel begins with The Nun's Tale, and continues with The Friar's Tale, The Merchant's Tale and The Clerk's Tale. Thus, story by story, Peter Ackroyd builds his portrait of medieval London. The people are disenchanted with the Church, with its wealth and corruption, its Pope in Rome and its Pope in Avignon. But heresy is dangerous -- almost as dangerous as rebellion. This is a novel about spies and counterspies, radicals and idealists, murderers and arsonists, sects and secret societies. It is a tale richly atmospheric and satisfying in its historical detail.
From the Hardcover edition.
"The Clerkenwell Tales is a truly extraordinary feat of historical imagination: a slim novel, straining at the seams with a sort of macabre relish, in which disgust and enthusiasm jostle" * Sunday Telegraph *
"Historical fiction of the utmost potency" * Daily Mail *
"A tour-de-force, full of rich imaginings and strange happenings. It is as finely wrought as an illuminated manuscript" * Scotsman *
"A brilliantly imagined thriller" * Guardian *
"Roars and leaps through the London streets with thrilling energy...the result is tremendous. Ackroyd is a wonderful guide and torchbearer, bringing light to the darkest corners of humanity" * Independent *