The Relic Master: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: December 2015
Duration: 10 hours 57 minutes
Dismas sells religious relics to wealthy and influential clients. The Relic Master opens at a relic fair in Basel in 1517 where Dismas searches for items to add to the collections of his two major clients, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. Albrecht, however, cares more for the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences in conjunction with a local monk, Tetzel. When Albrecht’s demands for grander and more marketable relics increase, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to fabricate a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. When Dürer’s hubris exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, Dismas and Dürer set off with a band of Albrecht’s mercenaries to steal the Shroud of Chambéry, Europe’s most venerated relic.
On the way to Savoy, where the Shroud will be displayed, they meet a lustful count, a young female apothecary, and nobles on their way to pay homage to the Shroud. It is only when they reach Savoy that they realize they are not the only ones who intend to steal a relic of dubious legitimacy. Set in a time of political and religous upheaval (the death of Holy Roman Emperor Maxmilian I, Martin Luther's 95 Theses, and Leo X's papacy all figure prominently), The Relic Master is a delightful comic adventure.