In 1611 a book was published which would become the most familiar and widely read in the world: the King James Bible. For centuries it has been a religious and literary classic. But how did this 'noblest monument of English prose', in Robert Lowth's famous words, come to be? In the 13th century England was the only country in Europe to ban explicitly the translation of the Bible into the vernacular. For centuries, English Bibles were burned and translators executed. Guiding us through the forces that shaped King James' masterpiece, Derek Wilson explores the immense transformation of religion and society that led to its origin, tells the history of its making, and celebrates the breadth of its unparalleled influence. The story that unfolds will captivate all who enjoy history, religion, literature, or language.