Not since the publication of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose has a novelist created such a mesmerizing mix of murder, intrigue, and historical detail. In Lempriere's Dictionary, Lawrence Norfolk weaves these elements into an epic tale of institutional greed and passionate revenge, all set against a rich backdrop of classical mythology. At the heart of this spellbinding story are three seemingly unrelated historical events: as the seventeenth century opens, a band of venturers forms the Honorable Company of Merchants, trading from England to the East Indies - the East India Company; meanwhile in France, a city is burned and thirty thousand men, women, and children are massacred - the siege of La Rochelle; and almost two centuries later, John Lempriere writes his celebrated dictionary of classical mythology - Lempriere's Dictionary. This much is fact. Norfolk's extraordinary fiction shows how the first two events led inescapably to the third. Told with the narrative drive of a political thriller and a Dickensian panorama of place and time, this astonishing tale encompasses the Great Voyages of Discovery, multinational financial conspiracies, a centuries-old murderous feud, and central to these, the fevered writing of John Lempriere's dictionary. Appearing throughout is a glorious cast of scholars and eccentrics, drunken aristocrats, whores and assassins, paranoid magistrates, and octogenarian pirates, all brilliantly depicted across three continents and the world of classical mythology.