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The "burnable" book of the title is a work of poetic prophecy, ostensibly written during the reign of William the Conqueror, which foretells in gory detail the demise of thirteen English kings. In a society where it's a hanging offense merely to think of the king's death, this is seditious stuff. More to the point for Chaucer's contemporaries, Liber de Mortibus Regum Anglorum prophesizes the assassination of the sitting ruler, Richard II. The central mystery of the book leads us through the mucky lanes of London, with cunning surprises around every corner.