Would you risk your life to save a holy relic? Here is a novel about the proliferation and sale of holy relics in the Middle Ages: https://www.amazon.com/Relic-Master-Novel-Christopher-Buckley/dp/1501125761
“A rollicking good time, Christopher Buckley has transported his signature wit and irreverence from the Beltway to sixteenth-century Europe in The Relic Master” (GQ). This epic quest, “as rascally and convivial as any that Mr. Buckley has written” (The Wall Street Journal), is filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics, and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit “holds the reader till the very last page” (The New York Times Book Review).
Dealer on Antiques Roadshow: “You have Geronimo’s tomahawk? Now, about the provenance . . . “
What the Foreskin of Jesus Can Teach Us All
Would you risk your life to plunge into a burning cathedral to save John the Baptist’s head? This is another famous relic venerated by millions of Christians. https://www.history.com/news/saint-john-the-baptist-head-where
In medieval Europe, when religious relics were much sought after by popes and royalty, can you imagine how many heads of John the Baptist were drifting around on the e-bays and craig’s lists of that period?
What if Albrecht Durer was a little short on his rent and tried his hand at painting an image of a crucified man on a burial shroud? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Portrait_(Dürer,_Munich)
“Dec. 11, 2015
What a moment of joy Christopher Buckley must have experienced when he lit on the idea for his latest novel. As a veteran of political and cultural satire (“Thank You for Smoking” and many others), he surely surveyed the dismal — hold on to that word — landscape of American politics in the run-up to the next election and realized the whole thing was now so self-satirizing that no novel could do it justice. Instead he’s done a back flip into a moment in history similarly rich in hypocrisy, corruption, avarice, self-delusion and mendacity.
“The Relic Master” is an inspired piece of literary gymnastics. We are in Northern Europe in 1517 and an outraged, constipated monk named Martin Luther is calling time on the corruption — sexual, financial and spiritual — of the Roman Catholic Church. The problem is exquisitely summed up in Buckley’s opening chapter, set at a relic fair in Basel. On sale is a dazzling array of sanctity: hundreds of bits of saints’ and martyrs’ skulls, teeth, bones and hair; iron bars from torture grilles; whips and thorns, as well as nails, wood and blood from the crucifixion; even a vial with drops of the Virgin’s breast milk. Capitalism may be in its infancy, but relics are a healthy source of revenue for the church and private collectors, and in line with market forces, supply rises to meet demand. (Five hundred years on, one can, of course, still find similar relics in churches all over Italy.)”