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The Astronomer

Lawrence Goldstone


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Paris, 1534. A student at the Catholic Collège de Montaigu, serving as a courier for the Inquisition, is murdered by members of an extreme Lutheran sect for the packet of letters he is carrying. His friend and fellow classmate Amaury de Faverges—the illegitimate son of the Duke of Savoy and an expert in astronomy and natural science—is recruited as his replacement and promised a decree of legitimacy if he can uncover the secret that threatens to overturn Catholicism and the reign of François I. Working undercover, Amaury journeys south to the liberal court of the king's sister, Marguerite of Navarre, the alleged heart of the conspiracy. The deeper he probes, the more Amaury is forced to confront his own religious doubts; and when he discovers a copy of Copernicus's shocking manuscript showing the sun at the center of the universe, he knows the path he must follow. Replete with characters and events from history—from the iconoclastic Rabelais to the burning of heretics in Paris to preacher John Calvin and Copernicus himself—The Astronomer is a powerful novel of love and betrayal, and a thrilling portrait of what might well have happened at a hinge point in history when science and ancient religious belief collided.

Praise For The Astronomer

To describe Lawrence Goldstone's The Astronomer as a great historical whodunit, is to do it a gross injustice. By artfully weaving theological conflicts and personal dilemmas with a well-crafted murder story, set in the early years of the Reformation, Goldstone manages both to illuminate the human side of a fascinating historical era and to add spiritual depth to the lives of the people caught up in its wheels. A novel which can delight the lover of mysteries without disappointing one bit the reader of serious fiction.

— Apostolos Doxiadis, author of 'Logicomix'

Lawrence Goldstone has produced a thinking person's suspense novel, a moral thriller whose plot is propelled along by ideas as much as by action. The novel's hairpin turns lead us through the history of astronomy, the politics of religion, questions of loyalty and faith, and the grubby labyrinth that was sixteenth-century Paris.
— Ross King, author of 'Brunelleschi's Dome'

Clever, fast-moving, and richly depicted, The Astronomer is the kind of book that makes you forget about dinner—until you smell the chicken burning in the oven.

Goldstone keeps his 16th-century themes—murder, religious fanaticism, espionage and court intrigue—moving at a 21st-century pace.

Goldstone turns his attention to the problem of traditional thinking versus the scientific approach to the physical world. The author nicely balances the reality of torture and injustice in the Middle Ages with the beginnings of enlightened thinking and the history of a new ideology. A taut aura of impending violence, a darkness of spirit, and a likable young hero.

Pegasus Crime, 9781681775517, 304pp.

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

About the Author

Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of more that a dozen books, and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New Republic, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. He and his wife, author Nancy Goldstone, live in Sagaponack, New York.