I, autodidact
M S F Johnston
Published by Ceramicon, pp 227
ISBN: 978-1-5272-7125-8

"A thoroughly good read"

M S F Johnston has written an interesting investigation into the fall of Richard II, king of England, in 1399 and the subsequent rise to power of Henry IV. His hero, Damian Email, employs unusual, and possibly unique, investigation techniques to get to the bottom of what really went on in those dark times. Damian's journey of discovery involves meetings with unusual intellectuals in interesting public houses, amongst other things. The book flows well and the narrative romps along. A thoroughly good read which should appeal to anyone with even the slightest interest in history. - J Watson, Amazon
‘I, autodidact’ is a modern comedy for those of you who self-define as history-curious; whether you’re turned on by castles, cathedrals and museums, or prefer furtling academic works and dusty tomes at home. Whatever your personal predilections, you’ll enjoy reading this original perspective on your favourite subject.

Damian Email isn’t looking for history, but it knocks on his door, and he lets it in. What follows is both historical enquiry and private investigation, so round up the usual suspects: mysterious mentors, secret societies, cover-ups, cocktails and so on, but ‘I, autodidact’ is more than that – what’s Damian really looking for?

History has been around for ever, so it’s about time we found a new way to get ‘up close and personal’ with what went on in the past. The bee in Damian’s bonnet just happens to be Richard II and Henry IV, but it could be anything, and he needs to find his own way to get to them, a new way, to get to the truth.

How would you describe it in 4 words? Serious, scholarly, funny, flippant.

Could you give us more plot details? I’m sorry, it is tempting, but I must protect the reader’s experience.

Is it funny? Yes – happily, I can confirm it is. It’s been proved.

Will there be a continuation? Looks like we have a reader here! Yes, absolutely, coming out in the late Autumn. Damian has found more to do. It’ll be Henry IV-Henry V. There’s going to be a bit of overlap with the first book. The title’s ready now: ‘I, autodidact – Aye! Aye!’

Here’s what readers have said about ‘I, autodidact’.

I really enjoyed your book. I found it funny and inspiring. I even began to look up Elizabeth Lancaster and gisants.....!
J.S, Notts.
What intrigued me most was the idea of undertaking research by talking to effigies, which I don't think anyone has hit on before: I've been amusing myself by going online to find out more about the characters.
Dr B, Central South-West
I loved the language; M S F Johnston definitely has the storytelling knack, and the way it conveys history is terrific!
J-M J, Montreal
This is an immensely enjoyable read. Great fun! A book we need to read in these difficult times.
J P, Somerset
It is a fresh approach to history and the intrigues and Soprano-esque infighting has encouraged me to find out more. The whole thing is neatly done. A new kind of story that I really enjoyed.
G W, North East
Wonderful in so many ways!
It is an intelligent and highly entertaining book which is both playful and profound. It looks at motivation, enquiry, and what really motivates us beyond what we are told to do by others. Readers may find themselves following their own muse- just for the enjoyment and satisfaction of doing so.
K D, Berwickshire
Having a lifelong interest in etymology and history, leading to roles in both Literary Festivals and History Groups, a book which brings in the origins of words and English history is right up my street.
What I didn't expect to find was the wordplay, wit and humour from almost every character as they interact in an intriguing story. The author has written an unusual book which fits into so many genres and is well worth a read.
A. P-S Amazon
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘I, autodidact’. Having a visitor’s knowledge of most of the tombs, I was carried along by Damian’s conversations with the effigies. These people were no longer long-dead characters of medieval history, but brought into our world.
B.S. Surrey.
Two plus points for me were that all the lead characters are likeable and, and this was surprising, the book appealed to me on a spiritual level.
M.P London.

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