A New York Times Notable Book
In medieval England, a runaway scholar-priest named Nicholas Barber has joined a traveling theater troupe as they make their way toward their liege lord’s castle. In need of money, they decide to perform at a village en route. When their traditional morality plays fail to garner them an audience, they begin to stage the “the play of Thomas Wells”—their own depiction of the real-life drama unfolding within the village around the murder of a young boy. The villagers believe they have already identified the killer, and the troupe believes their play will be a straightforward depiction of justice served. But soon the players soon learn that the details of the crime are elusive, and the lines between performance and reality become blurred as they discover, scene by scene, line by line, what really happened. Thought-provoking and unforgettable, Morality Play is at once a masterful work of historical fiction, a gripping murder mystery, and a literary work of the first order.
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National BestsellerFrom the Publisher:
Barry Unsworth, author of the Booker Prize-winnings Sacred Hunger, turns to 14th-century England with a novel of foul doings in the time of The Name of the Rose.
In Morality Play, Barry Unsworth, indisputably the finest writer of literate historical fiction alive today, brings 14th-century England to vibrant life, transporting us back to this "distant mirror" to show us a world that, beneath its medieval trappings, is full of the same corruption and moral dilemmas that we face today. Nicholas Barber is a 23-year-old monk who, fearing the wrath of his bishop for breaking his vows of chastity, takes up with a troupe of traveling players. Coming to a small town in the middle of winter, the troupe puts on its usual morality play, only to get caught up in a drama of a different kind. A murder has taken place and a mute-and-deaf girl stands condenmed, awaiting execution. Seeing an opportunity to attract a large audience, the players go through the town collecting information, which they weave into their second performance. As they perform, though, the story grows, as does the audience. Soon they learn that what makes for good drama is far closer to the dangerous truth than they originally imagined and they attract the concerned attention of the local potentate, the powerful Lord de Guise, who summons them to his castle for a "private performance." Morality Play is a brilliant novel that holds us in its powerful grip as it deftly portrays how art can, quite literally, reveal truth.
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Book Description Hamish Hamilton, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0241133416
Book Description Hamish Hamilton, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0241133416