THE DEVIL’S LIBRARY by Tom Pugh
Two Renaissance adventurers pursue ancient texts the Catholic Church will go to any lengths to obtain…
The discovery of ancient texts has destroyed an image of the world long cultivated by the Catholic Church and ignited a vicious war of ideas in Renaissance Europe. Leaders on both sides dream of finding the legendary ‘Devil’s Library’ – the ultimate weapon in the battle for the hearts and minds of men.
January, 1562. Exiled Englishman and soldier, Matthew Longstaff is in Moscow, commissioned to steal a book from the private library of Ivan the Terrible. He is working for the Otiosi, a clandestine group of free-thinkers determined to keep the new-kindled flame of curiosity alive at any cost. Also working for the Otiosi is French doctor and adventurer, Gaetan Durant, charged with obtaining a rare palimpsest from a young Danish nobleman.
Longstaff and Durant meet in Lübeck to discover that between them they now possess the key to unlock the secrets of the Devil’s Library. The two men distrust each other but, pursued by Ivan’s assassins, they must work together to survive their dangerous journey across the Holy Roman Empire. Greater threats await them in Counter-Reformation Italy where the Pope’s inquisitors have set their fires to destroy the new spirit of inquiry. Their guiding spirit is spymaster, Gregorio Spina who seizes the Otiosi leader in Florence and tortures him for information. The secrets of the Devil’s Library now lie within Spina’s grasp, and the first steps towards the Enlightenment are in danger of being erased from history. Only Longstaff and Durant can stop him.
They have no army, no resources beyond Longstaff’s prowess with a sword, Durant’s wits and the help of Aurélie, the mysterious, beautiful young protégé of the Otiosi’s captive leader.