The IlluminatorBook - 2005
Working in secret for a radical fourteenth-century Oxford professor who would translate the Bible into English, Reformation-era master illuminator Finn forms a dangerous alliance with Lady Kathryn, a widow desperate to protect her inheritance from the depredations of the church and the monarchy. A first novel. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.
A glowing first novel that brings us "historical fiction in the grand epic manner, beautifully felt and written"
It is England, in the fourteenth century -- a time of plague, political unrest and the earliest stirrings of the Reformation. The printing press had yet to be invented, and books were rare and costly, painstakingly lettered by hand and illuminated with exquisite paintings. Finn is a master illuminator who works not only for the Church but also, in secret, for John Wycliffe of Oxford, who professes the radical idea that the Bible should be translated into English for everyone to read. Finn has another secret as well, one that leads him into danger when he meets Lady Kathryn of Blackingham Manor, a widow struggling to protect her inheritance from the depredations of Church and Crown alike. Finn's alliance with Lady Kathryn will take us to the heart of what Barbara Tuchman once called "the calamitous fourteenth century."
Richly detailed and irresistibly compelling, Brenda Rickman Vantrease's The Illuminator is a glorious story of love, art, religion, and treachery at an extraordinary turning point in history.