In a chase across 18th century France a young woman is caught up in the deadly struggle between the absolute power of the King and his censorship spies and the desire to live and think freely.
'I thought of the books we carried and the hands that would one day hold them. The pages read, turned and discussed. And how the book would become thought and the thought then become the person gone out into the world. Let Gilbert try and put a stop to that.'
After her father is disgraced, Delphine Vimond is cast out of her home in Rouen and flees to Paris. Into her life tumbles Chancery Smith, apprentice printer sent from London to discover the mysterious author of potentially incendiary papers marked only D. In a battle of wits with the French censor, Henri Gilbert, Delphine and Chancery set off in a frantic search for D's author. But who is D and does D even exist?
Privilege is a story of adventure and mishap set against the turmoil of mid-18th century France at odds with the absolute power of the King who is determined to suppress opposition on pain of death. At a time when books required royal privilege before they could be published - a system enforced by the Chief Censor and a network of spies - many were censored or banned, and their authors harshly punished. Books that fell foul of the system were published outside France and smuggled back in at great risk.
Costa-shortlisted author Guinevere Glasfurd has conjured a vibrant world of entitlement and danger, where the right to live and think freely could come at the highest cost.
Guinevere Glasfurd is a critically acclaimed novelist. Her debut novel, The Words in my Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC. Her second novel, The Year Without Summer, was written with support from the MacDowell Foundation, longlisted for the Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize 2021 and shortlisted for the HWA Gold Crown Award 2020. Awarded grants from the Arts Council England and the British Council for her work, her writing has also appeared in The Scotsman, Mslexia and in a collection published by the National Galleries of Scotland. Originally from Lancaster, she now lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter.