1610: A Sundial in a Grave
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1610: A Sundial in a Grave

by Mary Gentle
Release date: 2003
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, alternate history

Locus Award nominee 2004.

Spies and assassins, mathematical magicians, swordsmen and kings and one indomitable, incorrigible woman share the stage in a stunning epic alternate history.

Four hundred years ago, Hermetic magic is about to transform into science: 1610 is the year when everything could change.

Robert Fludd, English physician and astrologer, wields the heritage of Doctor John Dee and Giordano Bruno to foretell the future. But Fludd doesn't like the centuries that he is predicting. So someone will have to change the future...

Valentin Rochefort, duellist, down-at-heels aristocrat and spy for the Duc de Sully, France's powerful finance minister, has troubles of his own, thank you very much – not the least of which is Dariole, a young man of his acquaintance who is (in Rochefort's opinion) lust walking on legs – and as irresponsible as an alley-cat. The last thing Rochefort needs is a mad English astrologer in his life.

Continental Europe is briefly at peace, but Henri IV of France is planning to invade the German principalities. In England, only 5 years earlier, conspirators nearly succeeded in blowing up King James and his Parliament. The seeds of the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War are visibly being sown...

For a man of no conscience, Rochefort is about to find himself caught between loyalty, love, and blackmail, between kings, queens, politicians and Rosicrucians – and the woman he has, unknowingly, crossed land and sea to meet.
(updated 2011-01-29)

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