A New York Times Notable Book In medieval England, a runaway scholar-priest named Nicholas Barber has joined a traveling theater troupe as they make their way toward their liege lord's castle. In need of money, they decide to perform at a village en route. When their traditional morality plays fail to garner them an audience, they begin to stage the "the play of Thomas Wells"--their own depiction of the real-life drama unfolding within the village around the murder of a young boy. The villagers believe they have already identified the killer, and the troupe believes their play will be a straightforward depiction of justice served. But soon the players soon learn that the details of the crime are elusive, and the lines between performance and reality become blurred as they discover, scene by scene, line by line, what really happened. Thought-provoking and unforgettable, Morality Play is at once a masterful work of historical fiction, a gripping murder mystery, and a literary work of the first order.
About the Author
Barry Unsworth was born in 1930 and grew up in a mining town in northeast England. Descended from a long line of coal miners, he was the first Unsworth to escape the mines. He attended Manchester University and published his first novel, The Partnership, in 1966. He is the author of seventeen books, including The Ruby in Her Navel, longlisted for the Booker Prize; Pascali's Island and Morality Play, both shortlisted for the Booker; and Sacred Hunger, co-winner of the Booker Prize. He died in 2012 at the age of eighty-one.