I watched yesterday's PBS documentary, "Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World" with interest, hoping it portrayed Luther as I did in my new (fictional and fun) Real History Mystery Press book, Martin Luther, Machiavelli and Murder. In recognition of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 theses—the October, 1517 document that ignited the Protestant Reformation and changed the face of Europe—my third book follows Luther as a young monk when he was in Rome, as historic fact. The "real history" in the book is the corruption and scandal there that provided the tinder when Martin Luther lit the match.
I am very serious about the history in my books, and hoped for confirmation that I portrayed Martin Luther accurately. I got it! The man I saw in the PBS documentary was my Martin Luther, with all his contradictions. Earnest, self-effacing, and sometimes depressed by his supposed sinfulness, Luther was also a brilliant and pugnacious writer and thinker who could not keep silent about perceived religious wrongs, even knowing he was likely to be burned at the stake for heresy. PBS was fair to him, bringing out his love of family and music and, in a balanced way, his least holy pronouncements. (After years of advocating relatively generous treatment of Jews he reversed himself, advocating property seizures and other harsh measures against those who refused to convert to Christianity. He also supported crushing a violent peasant rebellion.) The show spends little time on Lutheran doctrine (nor does my book—Luther was young and still a staunch Catholic when it occurs). There were no gross inaccuracies, though. It is also silent on the Catholic scandals of the time (which my book is not), and superficial though fair in its treatment of Catholic "indulgences," the primary subject of Luther's 95 theses, which then involved the outright sale of salvation.
In my book, Martin Luther occasionally discusses indulgences and other religious subjects with my free-thinking female protagonist, the illegitimate daughter of real-life bastard Niccolò Machiavelli, of "Machiavellian" fame. To his guilty horror, Luther also falls in love with her. Martin Luther, Machiavelli and Murder is the third book in the Nicola Machiavelli series, which has consistently rated 4 out of 5 stars after 140+ Amazon reviews and will eventually chronicle the entire High Renaissance in Italy. You can read a plot summary and the first 20% for free, and follow a first page link to all the great Renaissance art in the book, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074K96HRN. And of course buy it, for $2.99(e-book)/$7.99 (hard copy). If you are seeing this on my website, maryannphilip.com, there should be a link to the right through which you can purchase as well.