Off the Beaten Shelf

News & Reviews from the
York County Public Library

View All Posts

Jul 27

Review: The Lost Book of the Grail

Posted on July 27, 2017 at 4:59 PM by Elizabeth Land

If you love the feel of paper or the smell of books, then you have something in common with many of the characters featured in Charlie Lovett's novels. His brand of literary mystery thrusts a present-day book lover into a historical mystery that can often only be solved in dusty libraries.

Book cover for The Lost Book of the GrailHis first two novels explored whether famous authors actually penned the works that made them famous. In The Bookman's Tale, the much debated mystery of who authored the many plays attributed to Shakespeare is explored. And in First Impressions, Lovett casts doubt on whether Jane Austen actually wrote Pride and Prejudice. But far from being dry, academic explorations, Lovett excels at bringing to life both his present-day characters and the historical subjects of his mysteries. And his latest entry into the genre might be his most exciting yet.

The Holy Grail is the subject of his latest work, titled The Lost Book of the Grail.

Publisher's Summary

Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasingly, he feels like a fish out of water among the concrete buildings of the University of Barchester, where he works as an English professor. His one respite is his time spent nestled in the library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail and researching his perennially unfinished guidebook to the medieval cathedral. But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives in Barchester charged with the task of digitizing the library's manuscripts, Arthur's tranquility is broken. Appalled by the threat modern technology poses to the library he loves, he sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit with a similar love for knowledge and books—and a fellow Grail fanatic. Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, the ancient manuscript telling the story of the cathedral's founder. And when the future of the cathedral itself is threatened, Arthur and Bethany's search takes on grave importance, leading the pair to discover secrets about the cathedral, about the Grail, and about themselves.


While the suspense in Lovett's previous works revolved around actual physical danger facing the present-day characters, this novel lacks that immediate danger. But the draw of the grail, as well as the believability of the characters and their passions, easily hooks readers to the tale. Arthur's passion for physical books and Bethany's belief that technology is the future add to the overall conflict in the title.

If you have an affinity for grail lore, dusty old manuscripts or books of any type, you'll be sure to enjoy The Lost Book of the Grail. Visit our online catalog to request your copy today.