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Mercy Seller: A Novel

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Overview

In the fifteenth century, with religious intolerance spreading like wildfire across Europe, Englishwoman Anna Bookman and her grandfather, Finn, earn a living in Prague by illuminating precious books—-including forbidden translations of the Bible. As their secret trade grows ever more hazardous, Finn urges Anna to seek sanctuary in England. Her passage abroad, however, will be anything but easy.

Meanwhile, a priest in London, Brother Gabriel, dutifully obeys church doctrine by ...

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The Mercy Seller: A Novel

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Overview

In the fifteenth century, with religious intolerance spreading like wildfire across Europe, Englishwoman Anna Bookman and her grandfather, Finn, earn a living in Prague by illuminating precious books—-including forbidden translations of the Bible. As their secret trade grows ever more hazardous, Finn urges Anna to seek sanctuary in England. Her passage abroad, however, will be anything but easy.

Meanwhile, a priest in London, Brother Gabriel, dutifully obeys church doctrine by granting pardons . . . for a small fee. But when he is sent to France in disguise to find the source of the banned manuscripts finding their way to England, he meets Anna, who has set up a temporary stall as a bookseller. She has no way of knowing that the rich merchant frequenting her stall is actually a priest—-just as he does not know that he has met the woman for whom he will renounce his church.

It is only in England, which is far from the safe harbor once imagined, that their dangerous secrets will be revealed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Critical Acclaim for The Mercy Seller:

“By turns exotic, mystical, regal, and romantic.” —-Book Page

“Vantrease tells an engaging story and paints a vivid picture of fifteenth-century Europe.”

-Publishers Weekly

“Readers who liked Vantrease’s debut, The Illuminator, will be pleasantly surprised by this satisfying sequel. . . . The same lovely detail and attention to historical realities of the first book are here maintained.”

—-Library Journal

“Bigger, broader, and even better than its predecessor.”

-—Nashville Scene

Book Page
By turns exotic, mystical, regal, and romantic.
Nashville Scene
Bigger, broader, and even better than its predecessor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312377854
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 505,372
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

BRENDA RICKMAN VANTREASE is a former English teacher and librarian who has traveled extensively in the British Isles. She holds a Ph.D. in English and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Reading Group Guide

In the fifteenth century, with religious intolerance spreading like wildfire across Europe, English-born Anna Bookman and her grandfather, Finn, earn a living in Prague by illuminating precious books, including forbidden translations of the Bible. Finn subscribes to the heresy that people ought to be able to read the Word of God for themselves, without having to pay a priest for the privilege, but holding that belief is becoming more and more hazardous. When the authorities start burning books and slaughtering heretics—-including the man Anna was to marry—-Finn urges her to seek sanctuary in England, but her passage abroad will be anything but easy.

 

In London, Friar Gabriel dutifully obeys church doctrine by granting pardons . . . for a small fee. But then he is sent undercover on a spying mission to France, where Anna has set up a temporary stall as a bookseller. Anna has no way of knowing that the wealthy young merchant frequenting her stall is actually a priest—-just as Gabriel does not know he has met the woman who will cause him to doubt his vows.

 

As Anna continues her journey to England, where the movement to stamp out heresy is growing ever fiercer, Brenda Rickman Vantrease brings us a richly imagined and immensely rewarding novel of love, faith, and dangerous secrets.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Well written, poorly typed

    The nook version of this book has innumerable typos.

    However, I enjoyed tye story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2009

    Really enjoyed this book.

    This is yet another author I will be looking for in the future. Good read if you like historical novels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2012

    Beautiful and engrossing

    This book along with THE ILLUMANATOR and THE HERETICS WIFE provide a revealing insight into the history of people fighting to read the Bible in their own language. They are beautifully written and engrossing novels weaving characters into real and dangerous historical eras. The author holds your attention through out the three stories developing the characters into real people. I highly recommend them to anyone who likes historical novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    When I signed up for this book, I said that I would love it or hate it. Well, I not only loved it, I thoroughly liked it too!! This time period--1412-1417 is not often written about in historical fiction from this point of view. The connection in Prague with the Jewish community, and the connection in England with Harry V and John Wycliffe was intricately woven and very interesting to read about. It was a very refreshing point of view. The copying of books, and Bibles in the 'people's languages' in specific, sure caused a great stir. Yet today this is still the biggest best selling book ever! All readers and book lovers should find this really interesting. Then the love story between the book copier's daughter and the 'Spy' was fabulous!! They were such rich and deeply thoughtful and tender characters. I have already told two of my book groups that we will be reading this book. I also want to read her earlier work--THE ILLUMINATOR--as I assume that it is the beginning of this book with the book copier being called 'the Illuminator' in this story. Also, I have only read one previous book that goes into the lives of Kathryn and Jerome before . Their lives are fascinating also. So much enjoyment in such a fine book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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