"As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed."
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.
This is a lively piece of historical fiction that is probably more fiction than history. It’s nominally about the court astrologer for King Christian IV of Denmark and his quest to murder the king for what he believes was the unlawful execution of Tycho Brahe, the famous astronomer. Along the way the astrologer must deal with the king’s conflicted son, traitorous knights, adulterous ladies in waiting, and a few ghosts for good measure. Sounds pretty exciting right? Well not exactly.
The story bogs down when it comes to the astrologer. Exciting things seem to be happening all around him but his own story is pretty weak. As a result the middle section drags but the beginning and ending are both pretty good. Indeed, the novel’s focus on the science of the day seemed like a new spin for a story occurring in the middle ages.
I would have given it higher marks if it weren’t for the performance. It was really pretty bad. The reader ignored most punctuation and did not voice his characters very well. As a result the story as read was hard to follow – especially at the beginning.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful