Paris, 1534. A student at the Catholic Collge de Montaigu, serving as a courier for the Inquisition, is murdered by members of an extreme Lutheran sect for the packet of letters he is carrying. His friend and fellow classmate, Amaury de Faverges, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Savoy and an expert in astronomy and natural science, is recruited as his replacement and promised a decree of legitimacy if he can uncover the secret that threatens to overturn Catholicism and the reign of Franois I.
Working undercover, Amaury journeys south to the liberal court of the king's sister, Marguerite of Navarre, the alleged heart of the conspiracy. The deeper he probes, the more Amaury is forced to confront his own religious doubts. And when he discovers a copy of Copernicus's shocking manuscript showing the sun at the center of the universe, he knows the path he must follow.
Replete with characters and events from history, from the iconoclastic Rabelais to the burning of heretics in Paris to preacher John Calvin and Copernicus himself, The Astronomer is a powerful novel of love and betrayal, and a thrilling portrait of what might well have happened at a hinge point in history when science and ancient religious belief collided.
©2010 Lawrence Goldstone (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Goldstone brings the sights, sounds, and furious politics of 16th-century France to vivid life." (Publishers Weekly)
The author's descriptions of the action occasionally kept me more engaged than the action itself in this historic thriller that puts a human face on what can happen when science runs afoul of dogma. The plot and characterizations sometimes charge forward with more enthusiasm that purpose, and not always in the same direction, leaving me to wonder if the author changed his mind about who the heroes and villains of the piece were. The story came together where it needed to go and covered a lot of historical and scientific ground getting there, so I'm looking forward to hearing more of Goldstone's work.
Robert Vaughn did a good job with narration -- I had no trouble understanding him, and he certainly puts fire into the action sequences.
Beautifully written. After the first few minutes the hiss of what appeared to be the reader's dentures disappeared and I appreciated the drama he gave to the reading. Couldn't stop listening. Only drawback: I wish the author had gone into more detail because what he did cover was so fascinating, I would have loved to heard more of his exquisite portrayal of the medieval world.
Robert Vaughn's voice, disparaged by some other listeners, may be the best reason to listen to this investigative procedural set in the reformation. The reading is sinuous, knowing and beautifully paced, a very mature, sexy voice. I recommend it highly.
Narrator was well-suited to the role of a mature older man, but his aged diction and peculiar pronunciation of certain consonants were completely unsuitable for anyone younger than 65, particularly female characters. Frankly, it was ludicrous.
This book has an interesting premise (Copernicus' great discovery against a backdrop of religious ferment) and attractive or suitably villainous protagonists. The scene -- Europe, especially France, on the very edge of the Enlightenment -- is fascinating, and the plot is gripping and breakneck. But Robert Vaughn, whose acting I greatly enjoy, should not be reading the book, or any book which constantly requires passable French pronunciation. Alas, even in English he has developed a tendency to mumble. Five stars, but for him; three, given the narration.
First.....I'm astounded that some of the reviewers don't seem to know who Robert Vaughn is! He is actually one of the reasons I bought the book. That being said.....I never for a minute forgot who was reading the story. His voice is just too recognizable for a story this complex. The narration was muddy is a few places as well. Vaughn is an actor with fabulous range in all the required voices but he was always Robert Vaughn reading a story.
As for the book itself, the topic is very interesting. Especially in this age of "Intelligent Design", the idea that science is dangerous to faith is quite an interesting plot. The story ended well but there was one character who should have answered for their treachery who didn't. Overall, I'd buy another book by this author but with a different reader.
Disappointing! I really hate to criticize people who do what I adore, write novels. I really wanted to love this book and I simply could not! The topic was engaging and I thought I was going to be in a "World without End" type of a novel, but instead it dragged with only brief periods of catching the attention. Sorry Mr. Goldstone. It did not do what I had hoped it would.
The reader (Robert Vaughn) is too old and his voiceis too gravely for the character, who is supposed to be around 28 years old. He is hard to understand and really takes awy from the story so much that it's hard t listen to it.
I could not understand the breathy croak of the reader -- not even a single page. Tried it on several headphones. Where were the director and the engineer?
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