Prize for the Fire
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
384 Pages | 6 x 9
In a deft blend of history and imagination, award-winning novelist Rilla Askew brings to life a young woman who defied the conventions of her time, ultimately braving torture and the fire of martyrdom for her convictions. A rich evocation of Reformation England, from the fenlands of Lincolnshire to the teeming religious underground of London to the court of Henry VIII, this gripping tale of defiance is as pertinent today as it was in the sixteenth century.
While skillfully portraying a significant historical figure—one of the first female writers known to have composed in the English language—Prize for the Fire renders the inner life of Anne Askew with a depth and immediacy that transcends time.
“Society’s net gradually and then violently tightens around a woman who desires no more—and no less—than freedom of movement, speech, conscience, and faith. In Rilla Askew’s riveting Prize for the Fire, the struggles of this sixteenth-century protagonist echo in contemporary battles over women’s voices and bodily autonomy. A deeply sensitive and ambitious act of historical imagination.”—Pamela Erens, author of The Virgins and Eleven Hours
“Prize for the Fire is a triumph. Rilla Askew has captured the unquenchable spirit of a singular woman, Anne Askew, as she stands alone against the violent, tumultuous England of Henry VIII’s final years. Readers of literary and historical fiction will find that this deeply researched novel and its passionate, elegiac prose will stay with them long after they close the book on Anne’s story. Highly recommended.”—Mary Anna Evans, author of the Faye Longchamp Mystery series
“With poise and restraint, Rilla Askew’s historical novel Prize for the Fire tells the brilliant, multifaceted story of an intelligent, virtuous, and indomitable woman.”—Foreword Reviews
“The novel deftly shows the insecurity of the times. It succeeds in taking us inside the head of a religious fanatic, making her credible, sympathetic, and, in a way, inspiring. Highly recommended.”— ReadingWorld with Susan Coventry
“The author writes powerfully of this world of diminished and marginalized women… Prize for the Fire has the tone and feel of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and it stands tall among the best of Tudor historical fiction.”—Historical Novel Society
“Like the gospel translators who changed Anne’s life, Askew portrays a principled life and dramatic era in clear, vivid prose. The themes remain pertinent – the suppression of women’s voices and the struggle for freedom in thought and religion. Askew has found in one Lincolnshire woman a symbol of courage and independence we would do well to remember.”—Lincolnshire Life Magazine
“A page-turner. Prize for the Fire is a gripping saga—a very fine book and a major accomplishment.”—Story Circle Network