... alas the interpretation he did choose to believe was from a French Catholic Priest (of the Queen’s staff) who did convince him the Angel was in fact a Demon sent by evil Protestant forces to sway him from his true path. And thus the King decided to ignore the warning. [loc. 2462]
A promising premise -- the career of William Lilly, astrologer to King Charles I -- but this novel is badly in need of an editor. I received an advance copy from NetGalley (in exchange for this honest review) and hoped that the issues I noted would be corrected before publication, but a quick check of the sample chapters on Amazon, and the e-text on Google Books, dashed my hopes.
I could go on. And I feel mean and curmudgeonly for picking apart the words and ignoring the story: but it's hard to judge a novel when the act of reading it is fraught with constant small annoyances. (Do not start me on anachronisms. Tattoo! Silhouette! Dachshund!)
Lilly's gift is not only to read the future in the stars (he did, in fact, predict the Great Fire with remarkable accuracy) but 'to manipulate outcomes, not just predict them'. He is engaged to read the King's horoscope, and to exorcise a young girl possessed by a demon -- I admire his handling of the latter case. He's certainly adept at politicking -- both in the mundane world, and in the rarified company of the Grand Council of Theurgy.
But his attitude to his wife (they do not love one another) is despicable, and his treatment of his mistress towards the end of the novel infuriating. I would have liked to warm towards Master Lilly, but despite the very real physical and psychic dangers he endures, I didn't really have a sense of him as a vulnerable, troubled human being.