Although his accomplishments were substantial-he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, and plotted voyages to the New World-John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. In The Queen's Conjurer, Benjamin Woolley brings to life the tale of one of the most colorful characters of the Renaissance. In the midst of a pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the world of science and reason, Dee's mathematics anticipated Newton by nearly a century, and his mapmaking and navigation were critical to exploration. Obsessed with alchemy, astrology, and mysticism, his library was one of the finest in Europe, a vast compendium of thousands of volumes. Yet, despite his powerful position and prodigious intellect, Dee died in poverty and obscurity, reviled and pitied as a madman. [via]
Written with flair and vigor, and based on numerous surviving diaries of the period, The Queen's Conjurer is a highly readable account of an extraordinary and nearly forgotten life.