This is not, in fact, a real copy of William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of Chesse.  It’s a lovely facsimile of the 1474 edition, though, made in 1855 by Vincent Figgins.

For many years, The Game of Chesse was thought to be the first book printed in English; Caxton is widely considered to be the father of the English printing industry.  We now know that Caxton’s The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy, not Chesse, was actually the first, but Chesse none the less remains a very important part of the history of printing in England. Caxton also produced the first printed editions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

Despite the title, the book has little to do with the actual game of chess; instead it is about moral lessons in a society with fixed social roles.  It’s printed in the rapidly-changing Late Middle English of Caxton’s time.

This facsimile is a work of art in its own right; printed on historically appropriate media with historic tools, it is just about as accurate as a reproduction could ever be expected to be.  Figgins painstakingly crafted the type and matched it letterform-by-letterform to Caxton’s original; he reproduced paper with the correct reed and watermarks.  

King Arthur - paleography

“…divers men hold opinion that there was no such Arthur;    and that all such books as be made of him be but feigned and    fables, because that some chronicles make of him no mention nor    remember him nothing nor of his knights….And for the pass the    time this book shall be pleasant to read in; but for to give    faith and belief that all is true that is contained herein, ye    be at your liberty.”

Caxton, Preface to Le Morte Darthur

From the bestselling author of the Charlie Parker mysteries—"the finest crime series currently in existence" (The Independent)—comes a new anthology of chilling short fiction.

A decade after Nocturnes first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal, and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight—and terrify.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2 also contains two novellas: the multi-award-winning The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository and The Fractured Atlas.