In his lively style Ackroyd, an acclaimed biographer and novelist, brings us an eye-opening portrait, rich in drama and colorful historical detail, of a prolific genius. Chaucer, who died in 1400, led an eventful life. He was a royal courtier, a customs official, an emissary of the king to the courts of France and Italy and a prisoner of war. He was also indicted for rape and sued for debt. Along the way he became the father of modern English literature and the author of Canterbury Tales.