‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A lot can be fatal.’
Florence, October 1587. Francesco de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany collapses whilst out hunting with his ambitious younger brother, the Cardinal Ferdinand. Soon the Duke is dead. Officially the Cardinal insists that his brother has died of a malarial fever. But secretly an investigation begins to find the killer – or a suitable scapegoat?
Galileo, a brilliant, impecunious, and unscrupulous young scientist, is struggling to make a name for himself at the corrupt court of the Medici. He is horrified to be arrested as the Duke’s murderer: nothing burns so well as a wicked magician! His only hope is to find the real killer – or, at least, a better scapegoat. His search takes him through the piazzas and palaces of Florence, through the barber-shops and brothels, the cloisters and the taverns. Especially the taverns.
Read more about the book, get a glimpse of the first pages and check out reviews …
The inspiration behind the book…
My historical novel ‘Galileo’s Revenge’ is set in sixteenth-century Florence, ruled by the Medici Dukes of Tuscany. Originally a family of merchants and bankers, the Medici dominated the government and culture of Florence
In my novel ‘Galileo’s Revenge’, our hero Galileo Galilei has to solve the suspicious death of Grand Duke Francesco de’ Medici (1541-87). In the course of his investigation, Galileo turns to the work of French barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré (c.1510-90), especially the treatise on poisons.
Fynes Moryson (1566-1630) needed to find board and lodging for the winter. The young English gentleman, a near contemporary of Galileo (and Shakespeare), had left England on Mayday, 1591. (See my first Fynes Moryson blog, A rough guide to Shakespeare’s Europe.) After two years of travel around northern Europe, he had crossed the Alps into Italy on Hallow’een, 1593, and headed straight for the Venetian university city of Padua.
Fynes Moryson (1566-1630) was a well-connected young gentleman from the East of England. In 1591 he left England to travel around Europe. For the next two and a half years he travelled through the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Prussia, Poland and Bohemia.
Ambroise Paré (c.1510 – 90) was an innovative barber-surgeon, who became chief surgeon to the kings of France. His collected works, first published in 1582, discuss a wide range of surgical and medical problems, including poisons.
Fynes Moryson (1566-1630) was an Elizabethan gentleman, a couple of years younger than Shakespeare and Galileo. As a young man, in the 1590s, he travelled widely in Europe, and to the Holy Land. This article is the first in a series of blogs recording his travels, especially through Galileo’s Italy.
Orlando Furioso – that is, Mad Orlando, or Orlando goes Mad – is a wonderful 33,000-line epic poem written in Italian by the poet and courtier Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1535).
In Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, the noble knight Orlando is driven mad by jealousy. Eventually, his friend, the English knight Duke Astolfo, travels to the Moon to recover Orlando’s lost wits.
Galileo was a huge admirer of the ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse (c.287-212BC). In his earliest published work, La bilancetta (1586), Galileo says that anyone ‘who has read and understood the very subtle inventions of this divine man in his own writings…
Rogero’s liberation from the clutches of the beautiful sorceress Alcina. The third of my posts about the 16th century ‘Game of Thrones’, Ariosto’s epic poem ‘Orlando Furioso’
Birth and family. Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy, on 16th February 1564. From an Anglo-centric point-of-view, that was the sixth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. William Shakespeare was born a couple of months later, on or about 23rd April.
The banner image at the top of this page is ‘Venus and Cupid with a Lute Player’ by Titian © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge