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The Lost Book of the Grail

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,465 ratings  ·  785 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale comes a new novel about an obsessive bibliophile's quest through time to discover a missing manuscript, the unknown history of an English Cathedral, and the secret of the Holy Grail.

Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books and manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library. Increasing
Hardcover, 321 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Viking
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Mia I started with First Impressions, followed by A Bookman's Tale, and I'm currently reading The Lost Book of the Grail (had to wait for this gift from a…moreI started with First Impressions, followed by A Bookman's Tale, and I'm currently reading The Lost Book of the Grail (had to wait for this gift from a US-based friend as the book is not available where I live). I love all three, and I hope he writes more of this same genre. FIrst Impressions made me a fan, super fan.(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Hannah Greendale
Arthur Prescott has been enchanted by stories of King Arthur and the Holy Grail since he was a boy. When he's not teaching English at the University of Barchester, he retires to the Cathedral Library to quietly nurture his secret obsession with the Grail. His quiet study is shattered by the arrival of Bethany Davis, who is tasked with digitizing all of the manuscripts in the library. First at odds with one another, Arthur and Bethany soon discover a mutual love of Grail lore, and their interest ...more
Sean Gibson
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are a number of things in life for which I am an absolute sucker, including, but not limited to, and in no particular order, the following:

*My kids
*Saved by the Bell (as I proved at great length here)
*Suckers (like, lollipops…not like people who are also suckers for things like Saved by the Bell, though I am fond of them as well)
*Iced mochas
*Using words that sound dirty but aren’t (e.g., kumquat, mastication, bisectional)
*Books about mysterious and long-lost books (bonus points if those
Diane S ☔
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor
A charming and delightful mix of Arthurian legend, Christian beliefs, myths, history and the blending of new and old technology. Arthur, a lowly professor in Barchester (nod to Trollope) was raised by his grandfather with the belief that not only was the Holy Grail real, but was here, hidden in Barchester. The monastery named after Saint Ewolda, has gone though many reincarnations, which is where the history comes in, the plundering of the monasteries by the Saxons and later by Henry VIII and C ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I chose this book entirely because of the ridiculously beautiful cover, which is actually not something I do all that often anymore. My husband picked it up off my desk after I got home from the library and read the summary and the author bio and then gave me a skeptical look. "An antiquarian bookseller and rare book collector?"

He assumed that it was going to be something uptight and snobby and inaccessible. And, being completely unfamiliar with any of Lovett's previous work, I was a little ner
Book Riot Community
If you love books about books, you HAVE to read this novel. Arthur Prescott is a bibliophile and luddite who should rightfully be teaching at Oxford. Instead, he’s at a small uni in Barchester, England, carrying out research in his beloved Barchester Cathedral Library. His monk-like existence is turned topsy turvy when an Instagramming American named Bethany Davis shows up to digitize the library’s medieval manuscripts. There is sooo much to love about this book. The Cathedral Library, for examp ...more
*I received a free copy from Viking via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Arthur Prescott sometimes thought he as born in the wrong generation. It's not that he thought he should be a Knight of the Round Table, but he should at least be living in the 1920s with Jeeves pulling on his morning coat for him.

Arthur Prescott, 40, professor at a small university, prefers spending time in the ancient cathedral library and losing himself in history (especially searching for clues to the resting
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for books about books and Charlie Lovett writes those kind of books. I just can't resist.

Arthur Prescott teaches literature at a glass and concrete English university in the town of Barchester, but his passion is to be in the library of the local cathedral which houses books and manuscripts dating back centuries. When Arthur is in the library, he is in his element as he researches the history of the cathedral to complete a guidebook that is long overdue. He is convinced that there
David Eppenstein
Do you like reading books? Not those e-things or audio things I mean books. I'm talking about books with paper pages with ink on them, with texture, with weight, with fragrance and color both real and imaginary. Yes, those kinds of books. Do you like them? Do you also like those books to contain stories with mysteries and quests and would it be even better if such stories were set in a small English town populated by an endearing collection of inhabitants? Well if you answered in the affirmative ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
The premise of the book is interesting. Love for the books and the stories they bring, and further transporting a reader back in time to those stories as they were happening. However, the style of writing is descriptive, which makes the pace very slow for me.

I’d say that the writing of this author is characterized by something unique. I think that’s what he aims for, which is great. He always tries to come up with something new. I don’t think he’s ever written a linear story. It just happens th
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The gifts of God are rarely what we expect”

The Lost Book of the Grail is the fifth novel by American teacher, playwright and author, Charlie Lovett. Arthur Prescott often thinks he was born in the wrong century. The forty-year-old university lecturer barely tolerates students and their modern take on classics; he hates the endless meetings and committees, and would much rather spend his time in the Barchester Cathedral Library handling ancient manuscripts written on vellum. His real passion, fo
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I'm such a fan of Charlie Lovett's literary mysteries. The combination of a book lover & mystery is the BEST combination ever!! He's an automatic buy for me. This one is probably my least favorite of the 3 books I've read by him but still enjoyable. I think my problem was Arthur. It was set in 2016 but he seemed very naive & actually not that smart, he's a professor by the way. He's never done email nor does he even have a cell phone.....?--in 2016?? And for someone that has been investigating t ...more
Julie  Durnell
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a thrilling adventure that hit so many notes for me, on faith, British history and church music, King Arthur and the Holy Grail, and a love story too-so very well written and researched!
Rachel McMillan
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved the guy. Loved the girl. Loved the church history. Loved the romance. Loved the writing. Loved the atmosphere. Loved the sense of place.


everything ! TWO THUMBS UP
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked up The Lost Book of the Grail because it had all the elements of a fascinating story; a blend of faith and religion, saints and old legends, mysticism and miracles. In that, I was not disappointed.

Arthur Prescott is a proud bibliophile, a lover of books and the written word and a confirmed Luddite.

He is a professor in a lowly town of Barchester, renowned for its Arthurian origins and the site of a saint, its original founder long forgotten.

Stories of King Arthur have captivated h
Lisa Larkin
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a cozy Dan Brown, if Dan Brown had any capacity for writing and character development. Quite fun.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
I expected to love this one. I think this one suffers from the ole "my expectations were greater" syndrome. I usually love books that are about books. I liked this one though, but I wanted to LOVE it.
The mystery was well done and plus I loved the historical fiction aspect of this. I'm also a sucker for the lore of this. But all the architecture talk lost me. I didn't care so much for that.

I liked the characters. I knew what was important to them and what their mission was. So 3 stars.
Kate Ayers
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun book. Four stars for that. Also because it has dimension. It's a mystery, sure, but it also is a romance. While I'm not a romance fan, if you wrap it in a mystery and don't get all sappy, I'm fine with it. Besides, it has a pursuit of the Holy Grail, so what's not to like? And the history is nicely interspersed so it's interesting without boggling.

The main character, Arthur, works at fictional University of Barchester, but his off hours he spends at Barchester Cathedral library. He has alway
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can never resist a good bibliomystery. Occasionally I’ll even settle for a decent one, but this one barely got to decent. Which honestly is kinda of sad, because it has a lot of good ingredients going into the pot…ancient manuscripts and King Arthur and books, books, books. But then ingredients alone have never made a great dish as any mediocre cook can attest to. It’s all about the precision cooking and spices and all that. And this book to continue the cooking metaphor (inexplicable because ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

I was completely fascinated by the history of Barchester & the search for the Grail. The protagonist is also quite the entertaining, grumpy curmudgeon .

The extremely slow pacing and the complete lack of action is what killed the book. Through the last 40%, it was pretty much a skim read
I had trouble getting into this one at first, as I have very little interest in the King Arthur legend that's central to the plot here. I could see others giving the book a higher rating if they were into Merlin and the gang. Anyway . . .

Another reviewer mentioned that she didn't feel the brief chapter introductions following the story over a millennium worked as well in audio, but I thought they were fine, accomplishing the objective of tying the story together by the end. As far as what to ex
William Liggett
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I stumbeld across this book at our local Barnes and Nobles. After reading a library copy, I liked it so much, I returned to our B&N and bought it. The back and forth between parallel stories of the life of the ancient church in England and the modern professor specializing in medieval texts is a bit disorienting, but the deep meaning it lends to the modern story is worth sticking with it. I loved the counterpoint between this stuffy academic with his conservative lifestyle and the perky young fe ...more
Ironical Dins
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I agree with the previous two reviews- interesting lore and discussion of artifacts, storyline too sweet in spots. I would also like to add some thoughts about character development. The main character just got under my skin- I found him wholly unbelievable, especially when one considers he's only 40. How exactly is he such a curmudgeon? There's really no explanation for it, and I found it distracting. I have had this problem with another book from this author- however, I keep coming back becaus ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wondrous fine bibliophilic fun

Arthur. The Grail. A lost saint. Wondrous ancient manuscripts. The glories of church music. A fine and occasionally silly romance. The arguments over the physical book and the digital image. Friendship, love, and death. Oh my what a lovely, lovely read.
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Lost Book of the Grail really hit the spot for me - a mystery involving a missing book and a Christian relic combined with Arthurian legends, an old cathedral and romance. I just felt happy reading it.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This book is like a cozy mystery version of a Dan Brown novel. There's no danger or wild conspiracy theories, but there is the grail & a lot of musty old books, libraries & churches. Many of the characters are quite charming, as well as the setting of a small English village. It was a little slow sometimes & there were some odd points in the narration, such as the narrator's inability to stick with one regional accent for the American character ...more
Text Publishing
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
‘Vivid, engaging…A love story and a detective story filled with wonderful historic detail.’
Kate Alcott

‘A mystery, a history, a pleasure—and a treasure.’
Gregory Maguire

‘Diffident Arthur Prescott [is an] enduring hero… [A] thoroughly enjoyable novel.’
Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘In his latest literary mystery, Lovett supplements his trademark meld of books, romance, and adventure with an element of (fairly English) humor and some nods in the direction of P.G. Wodehouse…There's lots of researc
The Lit Bitch
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been a fan of grail lore since I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when I was 8 years old. I’ve seen it at least a hundred times I feel like, so needless to say, I am a huge fan of anything related to the Holy Grail and I LOVE cathedrals.

I am also a fan of Charlie Lovett’s novels, and this latest book combined both grail lore, cathedrals, and Lovett’s charming prose. This book appealed to my love of English mythology and King Arthur, so I couldn’t pass it up for review when I saw i
Pamela Aidan
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I came so close to absolutely loving this book! Lovett hit on some of my most favorite obsessions: the search for the Holy Grail, King Arthur, ancient saints, England and old English cathedrals, Glastonbury, the beauty of litergy, mysterious ancient clues, faithfulness to a secret, love realized through a common cause. Ahhh! I highly recommend Lost Book of the Grail if you share those thrills.

So, why almost? The American love interest, Bethany Davis, was irritating. Perhaps that was done on pur
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
In many ways this was a charming book. It takes place in the fictional Cathedral town of Barchester. If you're a Trollope fan you'll probably enjoy this book a bit more. I've only read one of his books, so I was less familiar. But, I do love Arthurian lore and did like that the author created an early, pre-Schism saint. That made it quite interesting. I enjoyed the back and forth in time and watching the story develop over the centuries. But, there was something about the book that didn't comple ...more
Rachael McDiarmid
I have several historical and artistic loves in my life. And this Book wrapped them all up together. The Grail, Arthurian legends, pre-Raphaelites, poetry, British history, churches, books, libraries. Oh I weep! It’s as if THIS was the book that I should have written! I enjoyed it immensely. I liked the characters, loved the format and the story, and thought the read itself was a cracker! Once or twice my heart actually pounded (I mean who doesn’t love a Grail quest). Highly recommended for ever ...more
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I was born in Winston-Salem, NC and grew up as the child of an English professor. We spent our summers in the rural North Carolina mountains, so I felt an early affinity for the countryside. I was educated at Summit School, Woodberry Forest School (VA), and Davidson College (NC) and in 1984 went into the antiquarian book business with my first wife, Stephanie. About the same time I began to seriou ...more

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“The gifts of God are rarely what we expect.” 3 likes
“Jane Austen never married,” he said in frustration. “She entered the male-dominated field of novel writing and her female heroines are strong, independent characters. Just what do you imagine a feminist in a rural English village in the late eighteenth century looks like?” 1 likes
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