The New York Times Book Review
“John Gower is the perfect narrator and amateur sleuth…Holsinger’s research, alongside the energetic vulgarity of a language in flux, delivers up a world where even the filth is colorful.”

Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Holsinger is a graceful guide to the 14th century, lacing his thriller with just the right seasoning of antique words and all the necessary historical detail without any of the fusty smell of a documentary…Puzzlemeisters will love this. As will anyone who wants to sink into the sights and sounds of medieval England, a world that rises up here in all its strangeness — and its surprising similarities to our own era.”

Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
“Holsinger delivers a first novel whose zest, breadth, and color evoke The Canterbury Tales …the intricate plot, sharp characterizations, and sweeping depiction of medieval England make this a memorable fiction debut.”

“Captivating…John Grisham meets Umberto Eco.”

National Public Radio
“The search for a treasonous book of poems triggered labyrinthine plots and subplots that kept me guessing until the last page…Holsinger always invites us back out into the muck, the pungent, unforgiving muck of London’s lanes and alleyways.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Rich in period detail, intricate plotting and fully realized characters, ‘A Burnable Book’ exemplifies the best in historical fiction. As Gower says, ‘We perceive and remember this world only as it creates those single fragments of experience: moments of everyday kindness, or self-sacrificing love, or unthinkable brutality.’ All can be found in this spellbinding novel, a work of intelligence informed by Holsinger’s expertise and amplified by his imagination.”

The Sunday Times (London) Monthly Pick
“An enjoyable story of murder and intrigue in 14th-Century London.”

Library Journal
“Medieval England never tasted so rich nor smelled so foul as in this descriptive and intricately layered mystery. Holsinger is at his best describing the everyday lives and privations of the lower classes. He succeeds in elevating the missing manuscript genre to new heights that will entertain readers of both fiction and nonfiction.”

Andrew Taylor, The Spectator, “Pick of the crime novels”
“Bruce Holsinger is a medievalist, and his profound knowledge of the 14th century provides a wonderfully convincing backdrop to his first novel…Holsinger breathes fictional life into the poets, partly because he has such an impressive knowledge of their world. But he also has the skill to use it judiciously in the service of his story. His London feels like a real place, from St Paul’s churchyard to Southwark’s Gropecunt Lane. Comparisons with C.J. Sansom are inevitable, and justified.”

Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating overview of pre-Renaissance London at its best and worst.”

Nick Rennison, BBC History Magazine
“This is a rich novel…Holsinger’s own inventions–the low-life denizens of London’s mean streets–possess real vitality. They bring colour to a deviously twisting plot…Bruce Holsinger is a leading American scholar of the Middle Ages and his debut novel combines detailed knowledge of the period with an undoubted gift for gripping storytelling.”

Historical Novel Review
“I am in awe of Holsinger’s utterly convincing simulation of 14th-century London. A stroll around a bishop’s palace, a hand of cards, the intricate workings of the law, the haunts of prostitutes, religious processions and much more – the tale is steeped in wonderful and telling detail, which yet never descends into info-dump.”

“A challenging, big historical novel steeped in fact and really quite an excellent history lesson…But this is no Dan Brown.  This is serious historical stuff, difficult to know where fact and fiction part…Fascinating.”

Morning Coffee

Mystery One Bookstore
“Densely plotted and peopled with a large cast of richly drawn characters, A BURNABLE BOOK makes for a great historical murder mystery.”

She Reads Novels
“The setting is believable, the historical background feels thoroughly researched, the plot is cleverly constructed and the story is exciting.”