The Sky's Dark Labyrinth Blog
At the dawn of the seventeenth century, the Sun revolved around the Earth according to God’s plan and as set down in the Bible. Yet some men knew that the Heavens did not move as they should and began to believe exactly the opposite – a heresy punishable by being burned alive.
The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth is the first in a trilogy of novels that dramatically bring to life key moments in our understanding of the cosmos – when our view of the Universe changed forever.
I'll be collecting all posts here that are relevant to The Sky's Dark Labyrinth. Published during the course of 2011-2012, volume I, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, presents the stories of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei.
German Lutheran Johannes Kepler is convinced that he has been given a vision by God when he becomes the first man to distill into mathematical laws how stars and planets move through the heavens. Galileo Galilei, an Italian Catholic, will try to claim Kepler’s success for his own Church, but he finds himself enmeshed in a web of intrigue originating from within the Vatican itself. Both men become trapped by human ignorance and irrational terror to the peril of their lives and those of their families in one of the darkest, yet also one of the most enlightening, periods of European history.
Volume II, The Sensorium of God, features Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. Volume III, The Day Without Yesterday, recounts the story of Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble and George Lemaitre.
Confirmed publication dates so far are April in UK, June in Australia, September in Canada. Forthcoming publications dates will be announced for South Korea, Japan and Greece soon. I'll be talking about these books at various literary festivals and other venues across the UK this year. Stay tuned for further announcements. The book is published in the UK and Australia by Polygon Books and in Canada by McArthur Books.
To download a four page brochure about the trilogy, click here.
To contact the book's UK publicist, Jan Rutherford, click here.
To contact the book's Canadian publicist, Devon Pool, click here.
It was a great pleasure to be interviewed by Pippa Goldschmidt as part of ESRC Genomics Forum coverage of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Pippa has previously reviewed The Sky's Dark Labyrinth and this time she she asked me some fascinating questions, including:
• Your first novel is actually a fictional account of real historical events. Why did you decide to tackle this in a fictional format?
• Were you hoping to attract new audiences with this approach? People who might be put off by non-fiction science books?
• Do you think a fictional treatment adds to our understanding?
You can read the full interview here.
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A few weeks ago I spent a very enjoyable afternoon chatting with Ernie Almond of BBC 3 Counties Radio. We talked about space, astronomy, climate change and, of course, writing. Inevitably we talked about The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth. You can listen to the interview by using the player below.
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Looks like I’m going to be busy lecturing again at the end of the summer and well into the autumn. It is with great pleasure that I’ve accepted invitations to two of my favourite festivals in the UK, and a couple of new ones that I’m looking forward to immensely.
All of these talks are in support of The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth and I want to thank each and every one of you for being so positive about this book. It is my first piece of published fiction and hence was a bit of a leap into the dark. I’m so grateful for the welcome you have given it and the success that you are making of it.
Just last Saturday I spent a fantastic day in WH Smith Brent Cross meeting members of the book-buying public and signing copies. I sold twenty-four and left another ten copies signed in the store – you know what to do if you want one!
But enough of this! Onto the events:
Edinburgh International Book Festival
On August 25th, I’ll be making a return visit to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland. I’m talking at 3:30pm in the RBS Corner Theatre; this year with novelist Douglas Watt and our session is entitled Fictional Tales of Dramatic Histories. I’ll be recounting my approach to writing The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth, in particular how I went about preserving the historical accuracy of the events surrounding the Galileo trial while crafting the story into a bona fide novel.
You can book tickets here.
Click the read more link below the tags if you cannot see the full story already.
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Great news today: The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth has made it into The Daily Mail’s “book critics' top picks for summer holiday reading.”
They say, “We take so much for granted in our lives, the skies being a case in point. In The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth Stuart Clark, a renowned astronomer tells of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei who battled against the bigotry and authority of the Roman Church to reveal the truth about the workings of our galaxy.
So, take a moment out of your holiday to sit under the stars and wonder, not just at their eternal beauty and mystery, but at the courage of the men who, literally, risked their lives so we could understand them.”
My thanks to Kathy Stevenson for her kind words. You can see the rest of the beach bag choices here.
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Kathy Stevenson of the Daily Mail reviewed The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth and said, “This book is a moving and eye-opening story of brilliance and bravery, and the fight against bigotry and closed-mindedness.”
Needless to say, I’m totally thrilled with it - all the more so because it was published on the morning I gave my debut talk at the Hay Festival. Jan Rutherford from Polygon Books greeted me with the paper that morning and it got the whole day off to a terrific start.
You can read the full review here.
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