Hello, I have another guest blogger today. Author Robert Parry has been kind enough to share with us some information on his book ‘Virgin and the Crab’.
Here's what Robert has to say:
I would like to thank Jennifer for asking me to post a few words about my novel ‘Virgin and the Crab’ here today. ‘Strange title, great novel’ somebody described it recently – which I think is fair comment (I particularly like the ‘great novel’ bit of that statement). For those who agree with the ‘strange’ bit, however, a look at the sub-title might shed a little more light on things: ‘Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the Early Life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor.’
England’s Elizabeth is a person who needs little introduction to history enthusiasts. But what about John Dee? Well, he is the principle character of the story – which takes us through one of the most turbulent, cruel and unsettling decades of English history, from around 1547 to 1558 when the nation had no less than five different monarchs – from Henry VIII, Edward VI and Jane Grey to Mary I and finally Elizabeth I. Turbulent times, to say the least.
John Dee was one of the most remarkable men of his age, a brilliant mathematician, astronomer and geographer and almost certainly a spy. He advised on just about every great voyage of discovery undertaken during the Elizabethan age. He boasted one of the most extensive libraries in Europe at the time, far greater in volume than that of Oxford university, for instance. And he might even have had a hand in the invention of the telescope many years before it first appeared in Holland and Italy and was subsequently adopted for use by Galileo in 1607. He was an alchemist and a devoutly spiritual and religious man who believed in the existence of angels. Perhaps most importantly, as a prominent Cambridge scholar, he became tutor to many of the royal children at Court – including at various times, Edward VI, Jane Grey, Robert Dudley and most likely Elizabeth herself. He was friends with Roger Ascham and John Cheke, two more of the royal tutors, and also with William Cecil, Elizabeth’s closest governmental and legal adviser for almost all of her life. Dee was at the very hub of Elizabethan society.
I hope my story might help raise the profile of this most interesting and talented man who may have played a pivotal role in helping Elizabeth through one of the darkest and most dangerous periods of her life.
Let’s conclude this brief article with another look at that title ‘Virgin and the Crab.’ An explanation! The ‘Virgin’ is Elizabeth, who had the star sign of Virgo, while the Crab is Dee who had the star sign of Cancer, the crab. Their shared interest in the stars and in all things astrological is an important sub-plot to the story. Together, the Virgin and the Crab made a formidable combination and the effects of their friendship remain with us still to this day, reflected in so many of the glorious achievements of England’s golden age.
Thank you again to Robert. I think this sounds like a very interesting read. I've never heard of John Dee, but it's usually the people in history that we know nothing about who have the most interesting stories. And strange is a good thing, keeps us on our toes.
If you would like more information about Virgin and the Crab please visit the Virgin and the Crab website.