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.
CultureLab editor Kat Austen has reviewed The Sky's Dark Labyrinth for New Scientist:
"IN THE first of a trilogy of novels based around the history of astronomy, Stuart Clark charts the struggle between helio and geocentric models of the solar system, through the life stories of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. The story's backdrop is the great Christian schism and widespread fears surrounding the Jesuits, witchcraft and the Inquisition. He preserves the important facts while skillfully immersing the reader in the turbulent events of 17th-century Europe... If Kepler wasn't already your favourite historical astronomer, he will be after reading this book."
Many thanks to Kat. You can read the fullreview at New Scientist's Culture Lab website here.
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"Religious conspiracy, coded letters, a barely sane astronomer with a clairvoyant dwarf, allegations of heresy and witchcraft...at first glance Stuart Clark's new book really does sound like something from the Dan Brown school of writing. That's probably a little unfair on both authors, because in many ways this is the exact opposite of Brown's modus operandi; the real challenge here is picking out the parts of the story that aren't essentially true. ..."
Many thanks to Geoff, you can read the full review here.
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As any writer will tell you, finding the right name for your work is often a difficult job. Some people are superb at finding the right name but most people, including me, often struggle. To find the very best title is essential because, as readers will know, an intriguing title will make us pluck the book from the shelf just as readily as a striking cover image.m
So when it came to naming my historical fiction trilogy that recounted the history of astronomy, finding the correct title was vital. I needed something that conveyed excitement and intrigue, drama and astronomy. I didn’t want something that made the books sound like a work of non-fiction, which is the style of writing I am best known for.
Just occasionally, the right title will leap at you but most often it is a work of hard graft. The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth was a mixture of the two. This post explains how the names came about and how my Twitter followers helped me decide.
Click on the ‘read more’ link below the tags if you cannot already see the whole article.
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There’s only a few weeks to go now before my first novel, The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth, is released in the UK. It tells the dramatic true story of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei as they struggle to understand the Universe in the face of growing religious intolerance. It is an exciting, fast-paced story that paints these men in realistic colours.
To read more about the book, and the trilogy it begins, click here to download a four page colour brochure.
Also, today Amazon.co.uk have begun to offer the book for preorder at a 30 percent discount (from £12.99 hardback to £9.09). Click here to pre-order – or just show your moral support by clicking the ‘Like’ button on the amazon page. If you are going to order, do check the final price, as these discount offers can change fast.
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According to the latest reports from Prague, the team responsible for exhuming Tycho Brahe have collected the samples they need and will be reburying the body this afternoon following a special mass. The crypt was opened in the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn near Prague's Old Town Square on Monday.
Tycho’s remains (below right) are contained in a tin box, as seen here in the crypt. Both pictures come from Ceské Noviny.
The samples are said to be in better condition than the team were expecting. Tests will begin later this year and the team hope to have a conclusion about Tycho’s cause of death some time next year, maybe as early as spring. According to history, Tycho died of a bladder infection but the 1901 exhumation indicated higher than usual concentrations of mercury in his body, raising the spectre of poison, either by accident or foul play.
Jens Vellev is a professor of medieval archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark, and is leading the team of scientists from Denmark and the Czech Republic. He told The Associated Press that he hopes to establish Brahe's intake of mercury in the last weeks of his life when he was apparently taking medicine that contained mercury to relieve pain. To do this Vellev will conduct a CT-scan and use an X-ray technique known as PIXE analysis at the Nuclear Research Institute AS in Rez near Prague.
Tycho is a central character in my forthcoming novel The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth, the first volume in a series that dramatises the history of astronomy. The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth will be published in April 2011 in the UK by Polygon Books.
As promised on Monday, here is a second extract from the novel in which German mathematician Johannes Kepler learns a little more about Tycho’s astronomical achievements. Click on the ‘read more’ link below the tags if you cannot already see the extract.
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