The Book of Splendour by Frances Sherwood

The Book of Splendour

Frances Sherwood

An emperor who wants immortality, a spying doctor, the alchemist John Dee, a young Jewish seamstress: these are just a few of the teeming multitude the novel brings to vivid life. Rich in atmosphere and colour, it will make you think about the price of dreams and the burden of otherness.


The emperor flung open his door. The guard pulled out the step, helped the emperor. There, surrounding the horsed guards was a great throng of people, and in front of the carriage was the rabbi of the Altneu Synagogue. Rudolph remembered him vaguely from the night at the castle when the multitudes had crowded into his room. He was a large man with a white beard, long hair, a forehead lined with creases, an impressive man, and yet, still and all, a Jew, and as that, as anybody else in his Empire so bold as to stop the royal progress, deserved no better than to be trampled to bits.

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  • The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd

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