A Matter of Interpretation

by Elizabeth Mac Donald

It’s thirteenth-century Europe and a young monk, Michael Scot, has been asked by the Holy Roman Emperor to translate the works of Aristotle and recover his ‘lost’ knowledge.

The Scot sets to his task, travelling from the Emperor’s Italian court to the translation schools of Toledo and from there to the Moorish library of Córdoba. But when the Pope deems the translations heretical, the Scot refuses to desist. So begins a battle for power between Church and State – one that has shaped how we view the world today.

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Mac Donald has succeeded in making the art of translation centre stage in a thrilling, witty, violent and mysterious debut filled with scheming characters. Jen Calleja, author and translator, shortlisted for The Man Booker International Prize

The characters, setting and the issues at stake will all linger long after you’ve finished reading it.’ – Domitilla Campanile, Professor of History, University of Pisa

In lush historic prose, Elizabeth Mac Donald leads the reader on a complex journey, where all interactions are tinged with superstition and suspicion.Nuala O’Connor, author of Becoming Belle

‘A Matter of Interpretation stages with mastery and verve the eternal conflict between knowledge and truth… A lesson for our own times.’ – Zrinka Stahuljak, Professor of Medieval Studies at UCLA

A fascinating sliver of history and a truly original book. Alan Robert Clark, author of The Prince of Mirrors

Mac Donald’s style is crisp and captivating.’ – Biancamaria Rizzardi, Professor of English Literature, University of Pisa

This extraordinary novel ranges wide across the political and religious map of medieval Europe.‘ – Peter Sirr, Translator, Novelist and Award-Winning Poet

A book to read with a glass of port and a dagger nearby.’ – George Szirtes, poet and translator