The Voyn­ich Man­u­script

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Ed­i­tors: RafalPrinke­and RenéZand­ber­gen Pub­lisher: Watkins w. www.watkin­spub­lish­ ISBN: 9781786780775 Price: £19.99(HB) This book is per­haps a lit­tle ‘off piste’ for the fam­ily his­tory arena, but we also know fam­ily his­to­ri­ans love a his­tor­i­cal chal­lenge. There are few greater than the mys­tery of the Voyn­ich man­u­script, named af­ter a book dealer who bought it in 1912.

The book it­self is writ­ten on 15th cen­tury vel­lum, and it was sup­pos­edly owned by the em­peror Ru­dolf around 1600. It con­sists of 240-odd pages where ‘odd’ is the op­er­a­tive word: the book is writ­ten in an un­known, so far un­cracked language or code, ac­com­pa­nied by fas­ci­nat­ing, beau­ti­ful im­ages of strange plants, as­tro­log­i­cal di­a­grams and more be­sides.

What has been lack­ing hith­erto is a proper, ac­ces­si­ble edi­tion of the book, and this fits the bill per­fectly. It of­fers an ex­ten­sive in­tro­duc­tory es­say about the full his­tory of the mys­tery, fol­lowed by ex­cel­lent, full- colour re­pro­duc­tions of the en­tire orig­i­nal book.

Rea­d­it­for: Abeau­ti­ful, de­fin­i­tive edi­tionofthishis­tor­i­calenigma

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