In 1605, when a group of Cambridge scholars begins their translation of the Bible as commanded by King James, the Protestant religion is firmly rooted in England. The rift between the Church and the Reformation has been clearly defined from the reign of Henry VIII, when that monarch broke from Rome in order to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn: “The Bishop’s Bible is an instrument of the Crown as the Latin Bible is an instrument of the pope.”
Each side of the religious divide is riddled with politics, even Cambridge scholars not immune to the influences of the powerful. When one of the translators is viciously murdered, the man charged with the safety and comfort of the translators, Deacon Marbury, is convinced to hire a stranger, Brother Timon, to investigate the killing. The King James Conspiracy is set in motion.
There are meetings of masked men, assassins, near-poisonings and pages of text that dispute the very documents that are being translated. Indeed, the translators are in possession of material that questions commonly held beliefs in the Bishop’s Bible, let alone the new translation ordered by King James: “Answers, for small minds, are holes in the brain through which Satan will enter.”
The obvious intention to codify language and beliefs accessible to the public at large, clearly political considerations also play a part in the emerging drama. His translators at risk not only of distraction from their work but the safety of their lives, Deacon Marbury is conflicted in his obligations, mistrusting Brother Timon, who has a dark and secret past as well as an amazing aptitude for memorizing great amounts of written text.
While the murders - now there are two men slain - draw the attention of the scholars (the enigmatic Brother Timon, Marbury, and his brilliant daughter, Anne), other agendas surface, long-hidden plots revealed that threaten the sanctity of the words of the Bible that is the basis of the Christian religion. The implied deviations are serious, information that could change the face of religion.
It is DePoy’s job to sell an argument wrapped in conflict and divergent personalities but based on attributable sources, considerable research involved for all that this is basically a work of fiction. Without century-hopping, as many such novels do, from the present to the past and back, the author concentrates all the activity, treachery, murder and confusion at Cambridge, darkened rooms lit only by tapers as a killer creeps silently to claim another victim.
As an embattled Marbury makes critical decisions, egotistical scholars revert to circular arguments, hypnotized by the sound of their own voices. Brother Timon, a fascinating character in his ambiguity, is assaulted by painful memories as he redefines his secret mission. Slashing swords and shouting men add to the drama of a story where truth is threatened by politics and the corruption of men, an intense, provocative novel that questions the integrity of the Bible and the motives of those who would rule the souls of men.