A new spirit of philosophical and religious enquiry is growing in 12th-century France. In its vanguard is the brilliant Peter Abelard, a man of great learning, independence of mind and sensuality. He starts a war of ideas with the powerful Abbot and Pope-maker Bernard of Clairvaux, the arch-priest of medieval mysticism and austerity. But when Abelard starts a wild affair with his equally brilliant but disastrously connected student Heloise, his enemies find just the pretext to destroy him.
Through the joy and suffering of one of the greatest love stories of the Middle Ages, Howard Brenton’s In Extremis explores the relationships between logic and religion, humanism and fundamentalism, faith and power.