The lost book of the Grail, or, A visitor's guide to Barchester Cathedral

Charles C Lovett

Book - 2017

"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale comes a new novel about an obsessive bibliophile's quest through time to discover a missing manuscript, the unknown history of an English Cathedral, and the secret of the Holy Grail. Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasingly, he feels like a fish out of water among the concrete buildings of the University of Barchester, where h...e works as an English professor. His one respite is his time spent nestled in the library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail and researching his perennially unfinished guidebook to the medieval cathedral. But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives in Barchester charged with the task of digitizing the library's manuscripts, Arthur's tranquility is broken. Appalled by the threat modern technology poses to the library he loves, he sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit with a similar love for knowledge and books--and a fellow Grail fanatic. Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, the ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral's founder. And when the future of the cathedral itself is threatened, Arthur and Bethany's search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the Grail, and about themselves"--

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Genres
Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
Published
New York : Viking [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
320 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780399562518
0399562516
Main Author
Charles C Lovett (author)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Former antiquarian bookseller Lovett here does what he did so well in his debut, The Bookman's Tale. He uses a contemporary setting to vivify and contextualize ancient writings. Arthur Prescott, a hapless English professor who spends as much time as possible in the Barchester Cathedral library obsessing over the story of the Holy Grail, is initially disturbed by young American Bethany Davis, sent to digitize the library's manuscripts. But soon they are comrades in arms trying to find the Book of Ewolda, a chronicle of the cathedral's founder missing under mysterious circumstances.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Lovett's (Bookman's Tale; First Impressions) latest novel is an incredible journey of historical secrets and preservation, as well as the very personal voyage of one Arthur Prescott. A lonely literature professor at the University of Barchester (a nice literary salute to Anthony Trollope), Prescott grew up on the stories of King Arthur and the Holy Grail thanks to his grandfather. He still searches for clues to the location of the grail, which he believes has ties to the English cathedral city. When Bethany Davis, an American digital preservationist, arrives to scan "his" manuscripts, the private, highly regimented Arthur finds himself sharing secrets, cracking codes, and opening himself up to the wider world. Interspersed with his quest are vignettes highlighting Barchester's history from 560 CE through World War II and guest appearances by such figures as Sir Thomas Malory and Alfred Lord Tennyson. With the bright, chatty Bethany at his side, the curmudgeonly Arthur transforms himself into an accomplished literary detective. Lovett's passion for the written word and historical preservation is showcased beautifully throughout this engrossing read. VERDICT Highly recommended for bibliophiles, historical fiction fans, and all who enjoy a solid literary mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/16.]—Katie Lawrence, Grand Rapids, MI Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Diffident Arthur Prescott, the endearing hero of this thoroughly enjoyable novel from bestseller Lovett (The Bookman's Tale), has chosen to teach at the University of Barchester, a backwater institution, because he grew up in Barchester (yes, Anthony Trollope's cathedral city, as Lovett admits in an author's note). A junior lecturer who's fond of P.G. Wodehouse, Arthur finds his values at odds with those of many of his colleagues, who prefer teaching seminars on J.K. Rowling rather than Shakespeare. His life is upended by the arrival of an attractive American, Bethany Davis, who has the job of digitizing the local cathedral's ancient manuscripts, and whom he fears threatens his own private quest for the location of the Holy Grail. Bethany gradually brings Arthur out of his emotional shell, and the two become research partners. The light tone (at one point, Arthur, Bethany, and some allies are described as having read enough classic mysteries "that they had no trouble concocting an unnecessarily complicated plan" for a well-intentioned theft) blends well with the clever academic sleuthing. Agent: Anna Worrall, Gernert Co. (Mar.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale comes a new novel about an obsessive bibliophile's quest through time to discover a missing manuscript, the unknown history of an English Cathedral, and the secret of the Holy Grail. Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasingly, he feels like a fish out of water among the concrete buildings of the University of Barchester, where he works as an English professor. His one respite is his time spent nestled in the library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail and researching his perennially unfinished guidebook to the medieval cathedral. But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives in Barchester charged with the task of digitizing the library's manuscripts, Arthur's tranquility is broken. Appalled by the threat modern technology poses to the library he loves, he sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit with a similar love for knowledge and books--and a fellow Grail fanatic. Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, the ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral's founder. And when the future of the cathedral itself is threatened, Arthur and Bethany's search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the Grail, and about themselves"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An obsessive bibliophile and Holy Grail fanatic combs through centuries of history to uncover a long-lost secret about the medieval Barchester Cathedral library at the side of a young American charged with digitizing the library's manuscripts.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An obsessive bibliophile and Holy Grail fanatic combs through centuries of history to uncover a long-lost secret about the medieval Barchester Cathedral library at the side of a young American charged with digitizing the library's manuscripts. By the New York Times best-selling author of The Bookman's Tale.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale comes a new novel about an obsessive bibliophile’s quest through time to discover a missing manuscript, the unknown history of an English Cathedral, and the secret of the Holy Grail Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasingly, he feels like a fish out of water among the concrete buildings of the University of Barchester, where he works as an English professor. His one respite is his time spent nestled in the library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail and researching his perennially unfinished guidebook to the medieval cathedral. But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives in Barchester charged with the task of digitizing the library’s manuscripts, Arthur’s tranquility is broken. Appalled by the threat modern technology poses to the library he loves, he sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit with a similar love for knowledge and books—and a fellow Grail fanatic.   Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, the ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral’s founder. And when the future of the cathedral itself is threatened, Arthur and Bethany’s search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the Grail, and about themselves.“Lovett's unique work combines literary and historical research with classic elements of cozy mysteries, classic love stories, and exciting adventure tales to create a true genre-blending masterpiece. At once funny, heartwarming, and suspenseful, The Lost Book of the Grail has something for every kind of reader, and every kind of book-lover, alike.” —Bustle