Read The Astrologer by Scott G.F. Bailey Online


“As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed.”It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin’s trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren’s men“As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed.”It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin’s trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren’s mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his revenge.The Astrologer takes us into the world of Europe on the edge of the Renaissance. It is a world ruled by the sword, where civilization is held in place by violence and blind loyalty. The birth of science is still overshadowed by medieval religion, but men are learning to think for themselves. In 1601, a man who thinks for himself is a dangerous man. Soren Andersmann, the astrologer, is becoming a dangerous man....

Title : The Astrologer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781936850365
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 262 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Astrologer Reviews

  • Katy
    2019-05-10 15:03

    Book Info: Genre: Historical/Alternative History fictionReading Level: AdultRecommended for: Fans of historically based fiction, alternate-history fiction, DenmarkBook Available: March 1, 2013 in paperback (link to Amazon where formatting allowed)Trigger Warnings: Violence, fighting, murderDisclosure: I received an ARC in e-book format from Rhemalda Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.Synopsis: “As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed.”It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin’s trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren’s mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his revenge.The Astrologer takes us into the world of Europe on the edge of the Renaissance. It is a world ruled by the sword, where civilization is held in place by violence and blind loyalty. The birth of science is still overshadowed by medieval religion, but men are learning to think for themselves. In 1601, a man who thinks for himself is a dangerous man. Soren Andersmann, the astrologer, is becoming a dangerous man. My Thoughts: The story opens with a bang and a clang: smack-dab in the middle of a sword fight. While the entire story is not action, there is definitely enough to fulfill the wishes of any adrenaline junkie, and the story is amusing and... delightful. Yes, delightful.I have recently been heard complaining about the lack of grace and beauty in much of modern language. You will not hear such complaints from me about this book, whose language—even the narrative—maintains a lovely authenticity, staying true to the loveliness of the language of the era during which the story is set. It was beautiful to read. There was also a good bit of humor in it. For example: “Perverting science for political reasons galled me...” This made me laugh out loud, because the narrator is here referring to the “science” of astrology—reading the signs in the heavens above. Science! I also quite enjoyed Soren’s attempts at assassination, and some of the unlikely assistance he received along the way. The ending of chapter 9 had me hooting out loud and applauding! My husband came in to find out what it was all about, but I refused to tell him so I did not spoil the surprise, because I ordered a paperback copy of this book for my husband, whose birthday is just a couple weeks after our anniversary, and a couple days after Valentine’s day. I know he will love it!If you like historically based fiction, if you like the legends and history of Denmark, if you enjoy a really well-done story, then you absolutely will not want to miss this new book being put out by Rhemalda. It is currently available for pre-ordering on Amazon, and I’ve linked to its Amazon page (in this sentence, and at the end of the synopsis where the title is mentioned) where formatting is allowed. Very much recommended!

  • Steven
    2019-05-16 22:24

    I'm going to state the patently obvious as a disclaimer: This is a subjective review.If this is the sort of book you like, you will really like this book. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. I REALLY wanted to like it. The book was given to me by a very dear friend who was very hopeful that I would like it. The author is a good friend of my good friend. I felt just a little that if I didn't like the book, I would hurt my friend's feelings, and I really didn't want to do that.There were so many things I should have liked about the book. The prose is polished and perfect. The author clearly labored for months, probably years over the text. It is far more polished than most debut novels I have read. I'm quite a Shakespeare fan, so this re-imagining of Hamlet piqued my interest. The Shakespearean allusions salted through the text were delightful and satisfying. I like historical fiction that is faithful to history. Bailey provides impeccable historical detail and the characters are true to their context. This book is very well done, and that's why I gave it four stars.But I still didn't enjoy it. Aye, there's the rub. I pondered long trying to understand why I didn't like it. This is what I came up with. There is a school of writers (some of great fame and stature) and a host of readers (including most English teachers and professors) who adhere to the idea expressed by William Faulkner in his Nobel acceptance speech that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. I don't entirely agree with that idea. I think it makes for miserable reading. But some people really enjoy it.But this explanation seemed too simplistic to me. The original Hamlet had an awful lot of anguish and inner conflict, and the body count at the end of the play and this book were about the same, so what was the difference? Why did The Astrologer give me anguish without catharsis?In the Allegory of the Chariot from his Phaedrus, Plato describes a tripartite human soul as comprised of a rational charioteer driving a mismatched pair of horses. The dark horse represents all the base instincts and appetites. The white horse, called thumos, represents the noble traits of honor, courage, charity, etc. I came to realize that not a single character in The Astrologer displayed an ounce of thumos. They were all equally pathetic and unlikable. I never came to care what happened to any of them. There is thumos in Shakespeare's Hamlet, but none in The Astrologer.One other thing bothered me. The menacing Swiss mercenaries acted as a sort of diabolus ex machina that aided and abetted the hapless assassin to his inevitable end but their motive was never clear to me. It just didn't make sense.

  • Sheila
    2019-04-26 18:10

    Truth, perception, imagination and deception combine in Scott G. F. Bailey’s historical novel, The Astrologer. Soon after the death of the famous Tycho Brahe, and shortly before the availability of telescopes to aid astronomical observations, Tycho’s former student is still filled with plans for revenge. Living and working in the court of the Danish king Christian, he longs to resurrect his master’s work, rescue his scientific machines from the island of Hven, and groom the king’s son to become a more open-minded successor. But the keen observer of the heavens, and careful author of a treatise on the importance of science, proves to have a very blinkered view of events and a cloudy grasp of the truth.The writing is a smooth blend of old-fashioned description and quick dialog, with some lovely phrases that stick in the reader’s mind. “Servants and sycophants” go about their business in court while the inept narrator plots and falls ever short of his goals. The history and manners of Europe are convincingly portrayed, and the curious mix of faith and science is enthralling, with early attempts to understand gravity bending to the whim of religious interpretation, just as early attempts to understand astronomy bend to the perceived control of astrology.In all, The Astrologer is a fascinating read, and an enjoyable and frequently humorous look at a slightly twisted history, with a plot that blends Shakespearean comedy with the philosophical musings of a classically flawed narrator.Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the publisher and I’m offering my honest review.

  • Maryjmetz
    2019-05-01 18:24

    This book defies glib descriptions--there's just so darned much packed intoits pages. I usually say that I read for plot and "The Astrologer" has thatin spades: political intrigue and betrayal on many levels, rebelliouschildren, hysterically funny assassination attempts gone wrong... But I thinkit's really the characters, and their relationships to one another, thatshine most brightly--or at least that stick with me best (and mostheartbreakingly) after reading the book.Soren was Christian's tutor and also pretty much his friend inthe past but at the time the book opens Christian has become aware of theirseriously different places in society: Christian is the crown prince whileSoren is the son of a builder. Watching that dynamic unfold on the page isalmost as moving as the disintegration of the mind of the young "loveinterest" Vibeke. She is such a charming character that I just wanted tosave her but, of course, I couldn't. I guess that's it; the charactersare so real and so movingly portrayed that I found myself wanting to protectthem. (There are also a few villains that you just want to see get theircomeuppance, too.) They're real people for all it's Denmark in 1601 andBailey makes you care for them.The setting and general feel is somewhat reminiscent of HilaryMantel's "Wolf Hall" books but, for me at least, "The Astrologer: is a muchricher story. It came alive for me in a way that Thomas Cromwell and hiscrowd never quite did.

  • Tish
    2019-05-14 20:59

    This book was clearly written for a modern audience. I mean that the language is vigorous and not the least languorous, and that the plot moves briskly for folks who, like all your 21st-century readers, require a briskly-moving plot. And yet, behind all this movement and vigor, is the languorous movement of the snow falling, buildings crumbling, events and Fate building up and getting ready to overwhelm everything, like fire, like deep snow, which provides a very nice "objective correlative"--I learned that phrase when I was an English major--to the movement of the plot. So that all the hasty thrust-and-shove can happen all it wants: one can bring poisonous snakes, and construct great machines, and go into battle and then run away from battle. Behind it all the inevitable is getting ready to occur. And some of the characters know this, and some don't, and some know it clearly, and some know it in their madness, and some are learning it and we get to listen in while they do, and some will never learn it. I. Loved. It. It's good. I loved being there, in that place and time, with those people, and that is my primary criteria for a novel.

  • Lindsay
    2019-05-12 16:14

    I received a copy of this book through a Firstreads giveaway. The review below reflects solely my opinion and was not influenced in any way by the author or the publisher. I really enjoyed this book a lot. Of its main characters, I only knew a little about Tycho Brahe, who is dead before the book even starts. Yet his death is the impetus for Soren, the main character, to assassinate King Christian of Denmark. The author weaves an engaging story about a subject matter I think few modern Americans know anything about. There are twists and turns, and I actually said to myself in the middle of this book, "Am I rooting for a murderer?!" Yet the main character, Soren, is sympathetic. You realize his world view, and his near-worship of Tycho Brahe, undergoes severe challenges, and yet, Soren muddles his way through it all. It was unfortunately too short, but it was masterfully written. I felt the last two chapters were rushed, with Soren narrating some rather significant events. But, still, I look forward to seeing more from this author.

  • Jennie Grant
    2019-05-21 19:03

    Light-hearted action comedies and non-fiction are usually my cup of tea, but this swash buckling historical thriller, kept me utterly engaged. And, unlike lots of page-turners, it didn't leave me feeling like I'd just binged on junk food. The language is beautiful, the world evocative, the characters complex, the story multi-leveled, and here and there, you are left asking yourself deep philosophical questions. All this, and it's riveting too. This book will not disappoint.Bailey's book takes place at the beginning of the Renaissance when scientific thought is just beginning to but up against Church and State. This book brings home just how tumultuous, thought provoking, and exciting those times must have been. It also deals with how people -- scientists, the clergy, and politicians alike, react when the facts before them that don't fit their world view.

  • Scottie Johnson
    2019-05-17 15:00

    What was most interesting about this book was the use of a flawed narrator. His faults are revealed against his will and most naturally without him seeming to know he is revealing himself in this way. I found that more true to real life than the near perfect, save that he works too hard, is too committed, (insert fake "fault that is obviously a virtue here) kind of character found in many other books.

  • Sean Endress
    2019-05-17 23:04

    Taken from my Amazon review:Full disclosure: I was sent a presskit containing a free copy of the book by Rhemalda Publishing to be considered for review.I am often wary of free books, warier still when they are brand new, have few reviews, and arrive in my inbox confessedly unsolicited. For mostly that reason, it remained unexamined on my hard drive for several days, as I reviewed other works. However, when I finally opened The Astrologer, I found I had made a serious mistake - I couldn't bring myself to close it again.I don't usually like to say things like this, since they don't really tell the customer much, but The Astrologer is one of the finest pieces of fiction I've read in some time. Those that are familiar with my reviews know that such gushing praise is unusual for me, and I hope that in of itself says something of the book's worthiness. But, on with the review, to the more technical and informative.I can (and will) pay due compliments to The Astrologer's plot and characters, but what truly drew me in was Mr. Bailey's language. It is certainly like nothing I have heard before, present day readability combined with the wrought, flowing language of the novel's setting. Because the novel is narrated in the first person, both dialogue and action consist of this highly emotive, descriptive, and affluent language, making the text an absolute pleasure to read.Of course, the best-written language cannot cover a poorly-conceived story, but fortunately The Astrologer succeeds on every front. The world is carefully constructed and described, I could see and feel the settings, and the moods were palpable. Additionally, though I profess no knowledge of Denmark, the surrounding area, or indeed of the 17th century, I can say that I got the impression of a very thoroughly-researched work. (There was, however, one flaw: An allusion was made to one of Shakespeare's sonnets, which were not published until eight years after the setting of the story. I am no Shakespeare scholar either, however, and invite any commenter to set me right.)The plot was easy to follow and yet sufficiently twisting and turning to keep me deeply involved, as subplots grew and resolved and contributed more and more to the story. Though I will not go into detail to keep this review spoiler-free, it can be said that every detail was vitally important to the overall experience of the story, but it moved at such a pace that it was no trouble at all to soak up every bit.The characters were strong, the main character and Prince Christian most of all - detailed, layered, and intriguing, they occasionally hovered on the edge of traditional archetypes, but more often than not felt quite real. The supporting cast was strong as well, and their influence on the main characters and the direction of the story was well-considered by the author, something that this reviewer considers to be a distinction between a good novel and a great one.I laughed, I didn't quite cry, but I was certainly drawn in. One particularly poignant scene between Soren and Christian on a beach will stay with me for some time, such was its power and depth. After reading the astrologer, I made sure I stayed on Rhemalda Publishing's mailing list - this is an author to watch and follow for years to come.Bottom line: The Astrologer is an outstandingly strong work. High reading level and non-traditional (but beautiful) language, as well as some mature themes, leads me to recommend this for adults, as well as fans of historical fiction, especially in the 16th/17th century conflict between the Catholic church and the philosophy of rationalism. This review may not be seen as "trustworthy", since it's yet another five-star review, and I got the book for free. I want it known, however, that I stand by every word here... Except for the bit about Shakespeare, I'm never sure with him. As usual, if you've any questions or need anything clarified, feel free to contact me via the comment section below.

  • Anne Gallagher
    2019-05-12 23:06

    I received this book in a press kit from the publisher.I have never read a book like this before. 1601 is not a year I find myself when reading historical fiction, death and war are not my forte.I was not prepared to like this book. I had heard of the bloodshed, and quite complicated plot, so it was with great ambivalence when I finally opened it. However, Mr. Bailey's prose kept me reading long after I should have stopped. So much so, I finished it in one sitting.The plot is not as complicated as one would think. Soren Andersmenn wants to kill the King of Denmark for the murder of his beloved teacher Tycho Brahe. What happens to Soren throughout this tome is an enlightening of sorts, by this reader anyway, that a man bent on revenge will not look at anything other than his own truth, whether it is true or not.Bailey's authentic dialogue was a pleasure to read. His research flawless (except as one reviewer noted, as did I -- the Shakespeare quote), and his narrative quite unequal to any I have read in a very long time. He weaves a tale like a fireside ghost story, enthralling, spellbinding, captivating and you dare not leave the circle or you might miss the most exciting part.There is a line from the book -- "I am a man who has studied the very blueprint of God's mind." And I think Mr. Bailey has indeed studied the blueprint of what a great book should be, what it should have, and what it should leave the reader with. This is not a book to be taken lightly, it's very deep, and very complex, and not for the faint of heart. (I will refrain from commenting about the death of the bear.)Mr. Bailey has indeed turned out a fine performance for a first novel. I very much look forward to his next release.

  • Suzy
    2019-05-01 15:04

    I was sent an early copy of this book and asked to read and review. I accepted, thinking that it was so not my type of book and one that I could really give an honest review about. What I was not prepared for was actually liking the book. The Astrologer was quite interesting. Bailey's writing is very vivid and exciting. It is a story of a astrologer (big surprise) back in the 1600s who works for the King of Denmark giving horoscopes for the royal family and the kingdom. The astrologer, Soren, has a hidden agenda though. He is trying to get closer to the kind just to seek revenge for the murder of his beloved teacher. I thought all the blood and gore would be too much and very boring, but it was all beautifully written and enjoyable. I rarely enjoy a book without a love story, and this book had no love story. So surprise, surprise, I liked it.

  • edifanob
    2019-05-23 15:25

    What a surprising read. This is a well done historical fiction. I try to review it soon.

  • Elspeth G. Perkin
    2019-05-23 15:13

    A stellar read about a 17th century astrologer who vows revenge...The Astrologer is a stellar read that may have been missed by quite a few readers and that's truly a shame because this was marvelous experience as well as an unexpected momentary break from this reader's usual that proved most fortunate. I say momentary because I couldn't stop reading this title and finished it in two sittings. But with an enthralling tale teeming with deception, madness, and cries of vengeance from restless ghosts with disastrous twists worthy of Shakespeare, it really should be no wonder that I finished The Astrologer so quickly and highly recommend this gem of a find.Set in 17th century Denmark the reader is immediately confronted with a battle to the death scene with our narrator Soren Andersmann standing on the edge of all the disorder. But this is only the opening and there is still much more to come. As royal astrologer Soren is privy to the secrets of the household of King Christian IV and as the story continues little by little our narrator reveals his past and his ultimate vow of vengeance against the King of Denmark for the murder of Tycho Brahe- a genius and mentor to Soren but a dangerous madman to many others. Now armed with his wooden box full of death and falsified charts the scene is set for a unique and magnificently fashioned tale of the throne of power and desire, combating philosophies of beliefs and the unsteady fickle hand of fate all set in a land that can freeze a man's heart. I don't know about you, but I couldn't possibly ask for more from a historical novel. Bravo Mr. Bailey!

  • Darcia Helle
    2019-04-30 23:13

    I loved this story! From my perspective, Scott Bailey did everything right here. To start with, the setting is well crafted. Bailey paints a compelling portrait of life in 1601 Europe, without relying on an excess of words.The characters feel real. This is narrated in first person, from the perspective of Soren Andersmann, The Astrologer. Through his eyes, we get to know all the characters. Each has a unique personality, with hidden motivations we catch glimpses of along the way. The plot moves at a good pace, with a lot of action and some unexpected twists. The most important factor here for me is the dialogue. Often with historical fiction, I find the characters speech is modern and out of place. Not so with this story. The dialogue matched the period beautifully, while still remaining modern enough to allow for an easy reading experience. In all, I found this to be one of those books I could completely lose myself in.** I received this book from Rhemalda Publishing in exchange for an honest review. **

  • Tlaura
    2019-05-03 22:07

    Awesomely melodramatic fun, this is the (highly) fictionalized tale of the Danish astronomer Longomontanus (aka Christen Sorenson Longberg here called Soren Andersmann) as he sets out to avenge the murder of his mentor Tycho Brahe by the Danish king Christian IV. What ensues is a hot mess of Hamlet allegory, with some Lear thrown in too. Fortunately, so as to avoid too much tragedy, Soren is more Guildenstern than Hamlet. There are a few minor continuity problems (does Soren actually go with Tycho to Prague as the real Longberg did and the plot seems to require?), some unnecessary historical slips (neither Uranus nor telescopes were known about in 1601) and a few painfully ham-handed lines of Shakespeare thrown into Soren's monologues. But I read it in one sitting and the ending was excellent and caught me totally unawares. In the end, the novel offers a surprisingly subtle take on the relationship between philosophy and will to power to go with all the sword fights, intrigue and ghosts.

  • Rick Daley
    2019-05-19 23:08

    The Astrologer left me wanting to re-read Hamlet, and searching out information on Danish history on the Internet. That's a good thing...the story and characters stuck with me. It also gave me a craving for eel meat, but I'll leave the culinary review for another time. The story grabbed me in chapter 1 and held fast through the end; The Astrologer has no dull moments or dull characters. Each chapter of this book seemed crafted with purpose, well-paced and providing the story time to unfold without seeming either rushed or bloated.The language has an excellent balance of old English (thou art, whenceforth, and things like that) but is still written with a descriptive flair that is accessible to the modern reader. Plus, there's a lot of sword-fighting and cunning deception.I give a strong recommendation for readers seeking a literary novel about which they can reflect on motives and word choice, or for anyone seeking a quick bit of escapism. It's rare to have a work that can satisfy both cravings in one read.

  • Amalia Dillin
    2019-05-07 20:05

    Bailey's debut has something of a Bernard Cornwell-ian feel, in voice and tone. Soren's story is both fascinating and strange, as he comes to the realization that nothing of his life was as it seemed, and the men he believed heroes are anything but. In fact, there are no heroes in this novel -- and in that respect, it feels similar to me, to The Great Gatsby -- instead, it is the story of the fall, and the idealist's struggle to reconcile the world he wants to believe in against the world that is. Full Disclosure: I was received a free copy for review.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-16 16:15

    It was an OK book. I had a hard time connecting with the main character. Couldn't really feel his pain. Interesting look at how things were a few hundred years ago during the birth of science - but not a real thriller. Seemed a bit forced.