I’ve always been interested in history and it was my favourite subject at school, but I’ve only recently started reading more historically based novels again. I’ve just finished a cracker of a book that I want to share with you today. The Magick of Master Lilly is written by Tobsha Learner and was published in November last year through Sphere.
The book spans the years of 1641 through to 1649, and is set in England as the country is heading into Civil War. We see the events through the eyes of Master William Lilly, a well known astrologer of the time and it’s a fascinating read.
It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the book, but then I was totally gripped by The Magick of Master Lilly and the story as it unfolded.
In a time when the country is becoming ever more divided, Lilly’s allegiances are ever changing as he tries to stay true to his beliefs, whilst still revering King Charles for the position he holds. It’s a fascinating read as we learn more about spies, the magic of the times and religious beliefs. At this point in the 17th century families were torn apart and no one really knew who to trust as Parliament and the Puritans stood up against the King and his Royalist supporters.
Both sides admire the skills of Lilly, the Philomath, and when he is requested to come to London by a mysterious lady, and finds himself in front of Queen Henrietta, the course of his life changes forever. The meeting has been arranged by Magdalene, Lady de Morisset, confidant to the Queen, who, like the Queen in a Roman Catholic. He is asked to read the King’s stars for the Queen and to predict his fate. An onerous task, that could see the astrologer tried for treason. The country is in turmoil and the Queen is concerned for the fate of her husband and the crown.
As Lilly works on the Kings stars he becomes aware that all will not end well for the King and that London itself will be rocked by a great fire and the country will suffer an awful plague. The future is bleak. Can he change the course of history?
Lilly and Magdalene are both married, but are instantly drawn to each other, and as the country starts to wage battle against itself, both of their lives are in danger. They are both involved with a secret society of astrologers, cunning fold and seers, which is dangerous enough to be involved in without her also being a Catholic, Royalist.
I found myself totally absorbed in the lives and struggles of the two central characters, and seeing their struggles to survive in a time of uncertainty. It also felt quite poignant reading The Magick of Master Lilly as of course, we all know what happens to King Charles I in the end, and that so many people died in the struggles of the times. It’s also a love story, with flawed characters and a love that can never truly be. I was totally taken in the plot.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read and one I can truly recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and I’ve included the link to purchase the book below for your reference.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review