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The Relic Master: A Novel Audiobook, by Christopher Buckley Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Christopher Buckley Narrator: James Langton Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2015 ISBN: 9781442394476
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The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic.

On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics, and science, Vatican intrigue, and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An inspired piece of literary gymnastics [that] tumbles into an exuberant adventure caper…so tightly written that it holds the reader till the very last page…a smart, tart, well-researched romp into one of history’s most irresistibly grubby and outrageous periods of excess.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Buckley hasn’t abandoned political satire at all—he’s just found a different playing field for his favorite sport. The calamitous 16th century proves a supple mistress for this Washington writer…lively, entertaining and occasionally educational.”

    Washington Post

  • “With a refined British accent, James Langton brings to life some vivid and curious characters of the early sixteenth century. Buckley’s novel gives well-known historical figures of the time, including Frederick, ruler of Saxony, and Cardinal Albert, archbishop of Mainz, some quirky fictional exploits. Dismas, an honest relic hunter, sets out on an unexpected adventure when dire circumstances wipe out his wealth and his friend, the famous artist Albrecht Dürer, convinces him to try his hand at fake relics. Langton carries the narrative portions of the audiobook well with strong projection and great pacing. His pronunciations of German, Latin, and other languages roll smoothly into the story. His character voices are unique, consistent, and well chosen in tone.”


  • “A madcap heist adventure…that’s as comical as any in Buckley’s modern era tales. Buckley’s many fans will be pleased.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for December 2015

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About the Author

Christopher Buckley, recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence, is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor, and memoirist. His numerous books include the New York Times bestsellers The White House Mess and Losing Mum and Pup. He has worked as a merchant seaman and a White House speechwriter and has written for many newspapers and magazines.

About the Narrator

James Langton, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and later as a musician at the Guildhall School in London. He has worked in radio, film, and television, also appearing in theater in England and on Broadway. He is also a professional musician who led the internationally renowned Pasadena Roof Orchestra from 1996 to 2002.