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The Sky's Dark Labyrinth (Sky's Dark Labyrinth Trilogy) Hardcover – 1 May 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon: An Imprint of Birlinn Limited; First Edition edition (1 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971747
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.6 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This book is a moving and eye-opening story of brilliance and bravery, and the fight against bigotry and closed-mindedness. --The Daily Mail

Puts fictional flesh on the bones of Kepler s life and times to enjoyable effect ...The Sky s Dark Labyrinth deserves a broad readership. --Nature

'Clark spins a fascinating, pell-mell tale of intrigue, ignorance and irrationality in a new Europe struggling to be born.' --The Globe and Mail

'Clark's exposition of the men in the midst of this time of upheaval leaves us wanting more. Luckily for us, this is just the first in a trilogy about the mysteries of astronomy and the important players in its discoveries' --Canadian Blogspot

About the Author

Journalist, author and broadcaster, Stuart Clark has devoted his career to presenting the dynamic world of astronomy to the general public. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. In 2000, UK daily newspaper The Independent placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the 'stars' of British astrophysics teaching. He divides most of his time between writing books and writing for the European Space Agency in his capacity as senior editor for space science, alongside producing features for the BBC and many publications. He has written seventeen books to date, selling more than 250,000 copies worldwide, which have been translated into twelve languages so far. He regularly lectures throughout the UK and, increasingly, across the world. www.stuartclark.com


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The bodies being those of Galileo, Kepler, Tycho and Co. They all went close to being destroyed by their own exceptional theories, especially the Tuscan genius.

Galileo explores the skies in a way no one had done before and propounds a radical reorganisation of the cosmos in consequence, defends himself from the accusations by the Church that his view contravenes Scriptures but is condemned all the same, and forced to abjure, returning finally in old age to publish a work (Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences; see also The Essential Galileo) that will not only set mechanics on a new path, but will transform the very way in which the deeper knowledge of nature is to be found.

This first installment in a trilogy of novels by astronomer Stuart Clark (the other two will concentrate on Newton and Einstein respectively), although simple in its narrative structure, brings to life the above characters in a vivid and dramatic way, focusing especially on Galileo and Kepler (for the latter, cf. Harmonies of the World), and their cosmic discoveries. These are fantastic stories, and the author makes full use of them, drawing on extensive research, relying on imagination to fill any gaps and, as he said himself in an interview, making "the colours a little bit brighter and the shadows a bit darker.
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Format: Hardcover
I already knew a little about Kepler and Galileo and was aware they were contemporaries and that their views were against the religious teachings of the day. What I didn't realise was that they were fighting their respective corners against a backdrop of religious turmoil and war with an eminent cast of duplicitous characters.

Stuart Clark uses his imagination to flesh out the details between the well-recorded major events and has crafted a fast-paced story interweaving the lives of Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. The two men had found evidence that could change the centuries old view about the universe at a time when it was not wise to challenge the religious status quo. Both risked death for their beliefs.

What I particularly like is Stuart Clark's account of the day-to-day detail of living in 17th century Europe. The sights, sounds, smells and colours of the streets, houses and inns make for fascinating reading. His vivid descriptions of street theatre, traders, architecture, clothing, family life and the tedium of travelling (and moving house) show us how these people really lived. This is what Kepler's and Galileo's days were like in between moments of mathematical and observational insight and this is what brings the novel to life.

Stuart Clark's style is eloquent and entertaining and with the story flitting between Rome, Prague and Florence (and wherever Kepler found himself next), there is no time to get bored as we chase the main characters around Europe.

I somehow expected the book to end with the deaths of Kepler and Galileo although these two events are noted in the Epilogue. Instead, Stuart Clark chose to leave the stories of both characters on relatively positive notes.
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Format: Hardcover
Even though I'm revising hard for an Astronomy exam., I found it hard to put this book down. You can really imagine being back there in the 17th century, getting involved with the characters. Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler would have been thrilled to know that their names are being used in the Space explorations.

Stuart's style reminds me of C J Sansom's series of historical novels, which I also enjoyed.

Looking forward to Stuart Clark's next one in the Autumn.

Shirley
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an historical novel, in which Stuart Clark does a superb job of bringing to life the characters (primarily Kepler and Galileo) and their work, set against the turbulence of the religious conflicts that ravaged parts of Europe in the early 17th Century. It is this historical background that enables the reader to develop a deep understanding of the people involved and the resistance to their ideas.

Clark has the combined gifts of being a very good story-teller and having a thorough understanding of the astrophysical relevance of the work (and follies) of the protagonists of this tale, and uses both to good effect. If you ever imagined that a novel about the history of science would be dull, think again: this book has the compulsion of a good adventure novel; it would make an excellent film.
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Format: Paperback
When I saw this book on the shelf in a book store I knew I had to read it. While being a fiction book it revolves around a time when physics was changing the world, featuring both the characters of Kepler (who first put the idea of elliptical orbits, as proof that the Earth rotated the Sun) and Galileo (who first invents the telescope). It shows their struggles to keep their ideas in line with church (Lutheran and Roman Catholic respectively) while still pushing the boundaries of the limits of human knowledge.

This isn't your heaving bosoms type of historical fiction, this is the sort of fiction written about real characters in a hugely important time period. This is both highly entertaining, I couldn't put it down, and genuinely interesting.

This book would be a great present for those with a passing interest in physics (or it's history), but don't worry there are no complicated concepts or physics equations here. No knowledge of physics is necessary to get enjoyment from this book :)

The next book in the series, I believe, looks at Newton and his later discoveries. I can't wait for it!
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