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It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin's trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren's mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his ...
It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin's trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren's mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his revenge.
The Astrologer takes us into the world of Europe on the edge of the Renaissance. It is a world ruled by the sword, where civilization is held in place by violence and blind loyalty. The birth of science is still overshadowed by medieval religion, but men are learning to think for themselves. In 1601, a man who thinks for himself is a dangerous man. Soren Andersmann, the astrologer, is becoming a dangerous man.
"The Astrologer is a marvelous story of fierce revenge and murder as staggering as the constellations above. I simply couldn't look away. A vivid debut!" --Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of The Breakaway and Monarch
"It's elegant, it's sly, it's funny as all hell, and the unreliable narrator is both heroic and heartbreaking; a poignant embodiment of the Enlightenment fairy tales our society likes to tell itself." --Tara Maya, author of The Unfinished Song and Conmergence
"A philosophic stunner that evokes the wintry islands of Beowulf and the castles of Hamlet. Set in the predawn of the Enlightenment, Bailey's stargazing protagonist struggles against the dark forces that forever keep us ignorant. Haunting, expansive, poetic, and it has sword fights." --Layne Maheu, author of Song of the Crow
"If you, like any red-blooded human being with an unquenchable love for both the science of the cosmos and spine-crushing, gore-spewing violence, prefer to have your 17th century Danish astronomical historical fiction infused with swordfights, explosions, court intrigues, assassination plots, sexy adulterous affairs, psychotic nutcases, bears, midgets, and a Shakespearean flair for multifarious backstabbing murder-fests, The Astrologer is going to blow your mind like Tycho Brahe blew the hell out of Aristotle's antiquated belief in an unchanging celestial realm." - Ben Thompson, author of BADASS
Posted August 21, 2013
A well-told comedy of errors and tragedy of science:
Truth, perception, imagination and deception combine in Scott G. F. Bailey’s historical novel, The Astrologer. Soon after the death of the famous Tycho Brahe, and shortly before the availability of telescopes to aid astronomical observations, Tycho’s former student is still filled with plans for revenge. Living and working in the court of the Danish king Christian, he longs to resurrect his master’s work, rescue his scientific machines from the island of Hven, and groom the king’s son to become a more open-minded successor. But the keen observer of the heavens, and careful author of a treatise on the importance of science, proves to have a very blinkered view of events and a cloudy grasp of the truth.
The writing is a smooth blend of old-fashioned description and quick dialog, with some lovely phrases that stick in the reader’s mind. “Servants and sycophants” go about their business in court while the inept narrator plots and falls ever short of his goals. The history and manners of Europe are convincingly portrayed, and the curious mix of faith and science is enthralling, with early attempts to understand gravity bending to the whim of religious interpretation, just as early attempts to understand astronomy bend to the perceived control of astrology.
In all, The Astrologer is a fascinating read, and an enjoyable and frequently humorous look at a slightly twisted history, with a plot that blends Shakespearean comedy with the philosophical musings of a classically flawed narrator.
Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the publisher and I’m offering my honest review.
Posted June 27, 2013