You have GOT to read The Relic Master, a novel by Christopher Buckley (son of conservative icon William F. Buckley). It’s about a dealer in sacred relics (bones of the saints, artifacts from Bible stories, etc.) that, when venerated, were thought to provide time-off from purgatory. The story takes place in the time of Martin Luther. The cast of characters is a who’s-who of Reformation history. Buckley, a noted satirist, has written a novel that is funny, exciting, and true to history. His scathing portrait of the religious corruption and decadence of the time leaves no doubt that Luther, in his effort to reform the Church and recover authentic Christianity, is the good guy.
Dismas is the relic supplier for both Frederick the Wise of Saxony and Archbishop Albert of Mainz. Some theses posted on a church door by a friar who teaches in Frederic’s university start to make waves, with Frederic protecting him and Albert trying to burn him at the stake. Dismas, caught in the middle with his livelihood threatened, sees Luther’s point, but gets caught up in a relic forgery scam, aided by his side-kick, the great artist Albrecht Dürer. The plot thickens, and their plot thickens, leading to a mad-cap scheme to steal the Shroud of Turin. [Read more…]