The Image of Our Lord

Edward Burman, Author St. Martin's Press $19 (298p) ISBN 978-0-312-05876-0
In British author Burman's promising first novel, verbosity and an excess of historical facts burden an interesting plot. In 1313, during the power struggle at Avignon between the pope and French king Philip the Fair, the inquisitor-general for Provence orders nobleman Nicolas de Lirey and Brother Jacques Fournier to question an aging knight imprisoned for heresy. Jacques learns of a fabled holy relic said to bring ultimate power to its possessor. Gradually Jacques determines the nature of the relic and its location; gaining power within the Church, he hopes to possess the treasure himself. His early friendship with Nicolas stagnates as Jacques becomes increasingly ambitious, and the character of Nicolas is lost amid the complexities of the relic search, the backwash of Jacques's lengthy musings, minor characters and historical tidbits. An epilogue and notes document Burman's sources, but fail to clarify the tangled narrative. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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