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4.5 out of 5 stars19
4.5 out of 5 stars
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This historical novel, the middle of "The Sky's Dark Labyrinth" trilogy, about man's understanding of the universe is a fascinating read. The first one The Sky's Dark Labyrinth (The Sky's Dark Labyrinth Trilogy, Book 1) is about Galileo, and the final instalment will be about Einstein. Don't be put off this if you haven't read the first one as it works well as a stand-alone novel. Set in the late 17th century, this episode is about the efforts of Newton, Halley and Hooke to explain the movement of the planets and moons in the solar system. However, don't for one minute think that means it's going to be dry with lots of complicated equations. Far from it. What Stuart Clark does very successfully here is to show the very human struggles at the heart of such an endeavour: the professional rivalries, the political and religious challenges. At times, it reads almost like a thriller! The historical figures portrayed here are shown as flawed individuals, but brave too, being prepared to challenge conventional wisdom, even at great personal cost. Newton's theory of gravity seems harmless enough today, but in the late 17th century, the idea that planets and moons so far apart and not touching could move one another was bordering on heresy, and in other areas too, these men dabbled in dangerous ideas.
This is a good read, and makes a change from the subject matter of most historical novels. Meticulously researched, it is both informative and entertaining, and should certainly help to bring the history of science to a wider audience. I shall definitely be reading the other two books in this series.
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on 9 March 2012
After reading 'The Sky's dark labrinth', Stuart clark's first book in the trilogy about the struggle to advance in the science of astronomy against man's fears, ignorance and need to keep control of power, I couldn't wait to start on the second book, 'The Sensorium of God'. These novels are written as a fiction but excepting the detail, in conversation etc. are based entirely on fact and have obviously been acurately researched for the historical detail. I love the writing style and that the stories are as gripping as any fiction makes them a book you can't put down. Can't wait for the next one.
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on 14 July 2012
The second book in Clark's trilogy reads very similar to the first in terms of tone and style. That's obviously not a bad thing for a trilogy! This time around though the central characters are Newton, Hooke, Halley, Wren and several others. Theirs is the time that picks up on Galileo and Kepler's findings, which were traced in the first book, and they find themselves equally embroiled in religion and power games. The obsession with gravity leads these men to ranks of power, but it's not an easy ride and they're constantly challenged by the monarchy and the church.

Once again, Clark does an admirable job creating the space and time of the book in vivid detail. This time around London and Cambridge take centre stage as the Royal Society is at the heart of the new findings. All the side characters and plots add to the story to make it more of a novel about these men rather than just their scientific discoveries, but I felt that these side-plots were too quickly told and discarded at times. They did not necessarily contribute to the overall character or story development so I felt like Clark felt obliged to include them from a biographical perspective. Having said that, they did surprise me most times as I never knew much about these men besides what they've contributed to science and astronomy.

Overall, it's a great follow-up to the first book and deserves a read if you enjoyed it.
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on 4 April 2013
Having read the first book of the trilogy, I was eagerly anticipating this one -- it did not disappoint. I was already familiar with most of the scientific/astronomical aspects of the story, but not the socio-political setting in which it took place. Stuart Clark has an enviable knack of enlivening the times of which he writes and I found myself transported to the latter part of the 17th Century and empathising with the very human struggles of the main protagonists (even those of Newton, whose character was not depicted sympathetically - although, from what I know, it was an accurate depiction).

The book has the feel of a good adventure yarn. With a bit of development of some of the side-plots, I think that this book, like the first, would make a very good film!
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on 22 March 2012
The sensorum of god the second in the skys dark labyrinth series by stuart clark this was well written and better than most historical novesl telling the interlinked stories of newton, hooke and halley the backdrop of the restoration period to the end of the stuarts was less dramatic but excellent story told well and looking forward to the final book where einstein is the main character
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on 1 April 2012
This is the 3rd Stuart Clark science novel I have read. They all bring to life the discoveries that affect all our lives in a brilliant way. The lives and intrigues of the famous are researched and presented in an imaginative way and with a command of the English language that makes a real "must read".
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on 31 January 2014
Atmospheric and informative. This was a well written book which gave a good potrait of the age, together with researched fact. As someone who loves history but knows absolutely nothing about astronomy or physics, I loved it from start to finish. I would recommend.
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on 22 June 2014
The second book in the sky's dark labyrinth was an enjoyable read as well as being informative. A sense of humour helped carry the story along and brought the characters ans science/philosophy alive.
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on 31 January 2014
Loved the historical context. The interplay between well known scientists how their lives interacted. A fascinating insight into the history of astronomy and an enthralling story.
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on 31 August 2015
An enjoyable but slow read because much of the astronomical information needed checking to understand. Personal stories, church history etc very engagung
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