Peter Schoeffer is about to become a master scribe in Paris when his foster father, Johann Fust, calls him home to Germany to meet an “amazing man.” The man is Johann Gutenberg and he has created a machine to make books without the use of a scribe. Fust is funding the venture and wants Peter in the workshop as his eyes and ears even though it means turning his back on everything he has been trained to do.
This is the story of the making of the Gutenberg Bible.
Gutenberg was a foul-tempered man who did not have a head for business. Fust was a bookseller who could see how this could revolutionize the world if they could get it to market without the Catholic church seizing the press for their own use and if Gutenberg didn’t bankrupt him along the way. Schoeffer is stuck in the middle.
The city of Mainz at this time was in the midst of huge political turmoil which complicated everything. That was one thing that slowed down this book for me. The politics are complicated and I got lost a few times in all the fights between the guilds and the church.
I thought this book captured the secrecy and intrigue of bringing a new technology to the world.