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Peter Ackroyd


Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the author of the Canterbury Tales, but there was much more to him than that, not just the poetry he wrote, but also the important work he did in the service of the King. In Chaucer (part of the Brief Lives series) Peter Ackroyd tells of his life.

Chaucer was born into a wealthy and influential household - his father was a wine merchant who did business with royalty and his mother owned a considerable amount of property. He became a page in the service of royalty, which began his career as a royal servant. Ackroyd describes how Chaucer was trusted with important diplomatic missions, and how he Not all was plain sailing though, and Chaucer's legal expertise was very useful in dealing with problems of debt, as well as an accusation of rape. The book also tells of Chaucer's poetry, and discusses where the inspiration for the Canterbury Tales may have come from.

I found the book to be very readable, with plenty of information packed into a small space. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more of this important historical figure, and in particular those wanting to find out some of the background to the Canterbury Tales  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews