Imagine a decent textbook relating some of the less well-known events of the 17th century—the Thirty Years War, Oliver Cromwell, the Spanish Treasure ships, book-binding for fun and profit—add an old Dan Brown novel treatment and the script to National Treasure VII and stir well. After half-baking, turn the plot over an antique salver and serve. Voilá! Ex Libris by Ross King.
Is it a bad book? Well, I would say “No” because the author dishes out a great deal of historical data: enough that I have put the Thirty Years War and Oliver Cromwell on my reading list. But King uses the historical data (real or fictional) to weave an intricate story of intrigue centered on a missing text that would presumably have bumfuzzled the Pope and made all of Christianity cattywampus. Or at least that was the illusion the reader received from all the action in the book.