If ever a boring book appeared to be written by a pseudonym… John Man, really? Why is it so hard to write a compelling book about the origins of the printing press? First there was the historical fiction dross I read a few months ago, now this (which actually predates the dross by a decade). While I understand the difficulty (the well nigh impossibility) of reconstructing history from 500 years ago based on what various legal documents are left at our disposal, I do abhor a poorly stitched together tale that is based on puffery and assumptions and speculation. The only thing I got out of this was learning about Enea Silvio de Piccolomini, who wrote one of the earliest novels, The History of Two Lovers, which the author pleads for re-translation and modern publication. “Funny, romantic, sexy and smart, it was a bestseller for two centuries in all major European languages,” it’s a novel in Latin based on a love affair of the author’s court mentor, Kaspar Schlick.