June 11, 2011
Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry
Title: Virgin and the Crab
Author: Robert Parry
Publisher: Create Space
Date: September 29, 2009
This was by far one of the best books I have ever read! It was the best book I have ever read about Queen Elizabeth I. From the very first page to the last sentence I was held spellbound! I usually do not like for a movie to be made of a great book, but in this case, I would love, love, love to see a movie made of this book. I think it would be a box office hit, if it was done well. The story is awesome and it is from such a different angle from the usual Queen Elizabeth story that I think it could be the most interesting movie ever made about Queen Elizabeth I. After all, it was the most interesting book I have ever read about her.
This is the story of John Dee, An Astronomer, and a mathematician as well as a host of other abilities, and his friendship to Queen Elizabeth I. Their friendship began at an early age and lasted a lifetime. It is a story of devotion, a fight for survival and the struggle for freedom.
King Edward, Henry VIII's only son is a sickly King that finally succumbs to his illnesses. This left his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth in line for the throne. Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon takes the throne. She then has Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, imprisoned in the tower, in the very room occupied by her mother while she awaited her execution. Mary is a very disturbed lady. She is obsessed with putting the Catholic Church back into power and will do just about anything to make it happen. She earns the name 'Bloody Mary' because of all the people she had executed while she reigned. The execution method of choice started as beheading (just like her father), but then became burning people at the stake. So many were burned during her reign that the air was constantly filled with the smell of burnt flesh. I found it interesting how Robert Parry portrayed her. Not only was she a very devout Catholic woman, but she seemed to be obsessed with the teachings of the faith and her beliefs became toxic. She was also very afraid of having sex. Her biggest fear in marriage was the wedding night. Her beliefs were not just a self interest, but she believed everyone should feel as she did. She did finally marry. She married Prince Phillip of Spain. Soon afterward she became pregnant. At least that is what everyone was led to believe. After her due date came and went and still no baby, it was finally determined that she was not pregnant.
Most everyone knows that Elizabeth did finally become Queen of England. But not everyone knows just how close she came to being put to death, not just once, but many times. This story gives us a look at Queen Elizabeth from an angle not ever seen before, at least not to my knowledge. It is an angle that I found intriguing. It is told by John Dee and he is truly the hero of the story. This is the first story that I have ever heard mention him and yet he played a very important role in Queen Elizabeth's life. He is such an interesting character that I cannot believe I have not read about him before.
This story is full of Mystery, Intrigue, Suspense, Horror, Jealousy, Determination, and Devotion and I just did not want to put it down. When you add all of those things to Historical fiction as well as Historical facts, it just adds up to a perfect story. I did find myself wondering how Robert Parry can write such stories that hold you captive. He writes almost as if her was there when these things took place. Then I remembered one of the characters in the book was named Thomas Parry. I looked Thomas Parry up and found that he was the the Comptroller of the Household for Queen Elizabeth I. So, then I realized that he may be one of Robert Parry's ancestors and maybe this helps Robert write such awesome stories because it is in his blood!
Robert's book, "The Arrow Chest" is just as good as this one. So, if you haven't read that one, you are in for a real treat! I will miss reading this book as I almost hated for the story to be over. I do hope he is working on another one and when it comes out, I will be the first in line to buy it!