On Hist Fic saturday
Let's go back to ...1641
1 November 2018
In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps' nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.
Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.
My thoughts about it..
There's an awful lot going on in this novel which looks not only at the way superstition and astrology was used to try to make sense of a world that was becoming increasingly dangerous, but it also covers the interesting and complex time which we associate with the English Civil War.
William Lilly is both a magician and astrologer who gets caught up in the momentous events of this time and who, it would seem, is able to accurately predict some aspects of future events, however, to do so in such a difficult time was not only dangerous but in some situations perhaps even a little foolhardy.
Whilst it took me a while to get into this story, and I'm still not altogether sure, even by the end of the story, that I really liked Master Lilly, and yet, there is no doubt that he was a fascinating character and the fact that he actually existed makes the story all the more interesting. Once I became more used to the author's distinct style of writing I found the novel to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking read and it was certainly interesting to have an altogether different interpretation of this, rather complicated, period in English history.
The author writes well and it is obvious from the historical content within the story that a great deal of research has been done about the life of Master Lilly. All the sights, sounds and sensations of the seventeenth century come realistically to life which help to create a memorable atmosphere and some truly unforgettable characters.
Tobsha Learner was born and raised in England; she now divides her time between Australia, the UK and the USA. She is well known in Australia as an author and playwright.