The Relic Master

The Relic Master

A Novel

Book - 2015
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2015.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501125751
Branch Call Number: FICTION Buckley Christop 12/2015
Characteristics: 380 pages ;,24 cm.


From Library Staff

Lorie - A quirky and humorous historical novel about medieval dealers supposed saints' relics.

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Mar 20, 2019

Many colorful characters and some truths about the crooked relic business. If people had not been so naive and superstitious, this might not have occurred. It's really tragic the things that happened in conjunction with religion.

Feb 12, 2019

If you're a fan of the grimy underbelly of history, The Relic Master might just be the book for you. I'm just saying, Christopher Buckley has clearly done his research on 16th century torture and the shady business of relic sales. Combined with the darkly humorous tone of the story, I felt like I was reading Monty Python crossed with Blackadder!

Dismas, a relic monger turned reluctant thief, was the star of a cast just bursting with amusing characters. Though the writing style was sparse, I found myself immediately drawn into the plight of this plucky band of misfits. And I've got to say, The Relic Master kept me guessing until the end!

Dec 28, 2016

A very well done historical fiction blending gruesome middle age practices and humor as well as a blend of fictional charecters and real historical personages. I found it a bit difficult to get into at first but was soon captivated.

Jabberwock12 Apr 21, 2016

A good tale of historical fiction with some folks that did actually exist during that time. It has a feeling of an Assassins Creed video game dialogue mixed with a Game of Thrones-y like air about it. I found a lot of the book to be funny but rather a bore near the end. It seemed as the author had nowhere else to go or lost sight of his original ending. The book basically ended with the line "they stood awkwardly, neither able to think of anything left to say." Overall 3 out of 5 stars. A good read if you enjoy 16th Century romps and adventures.


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