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Review: Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry

[ 13 ] September 25, 2010 |

Reviewed by Claudia R.

” In all parts of the realm it would be the same: a thousand, a million dreams and secret episodes enacted in the lives of its people: love, hatred, friendship, anger and jealousies – even the cover of darkness cannot halt the progress of life and all the diverse rights of passage, the innumerable births, deaths and rebirths. Nothing is still; everything is in a state of change. ” – Elizabeth, Virgin and the Crab, Robert Parry

I am a history freak, especially anything pertaining to the Tudors and the volatile era of throne versus religion. Virgin and the Crab delivers an exquisitely fictional, but utterly believable journey of the period, including all the beloved (and not so much) characters of the Elizabethan era. King Edward, Queen Mary, Jane Grey, John Dudley, are perfectly entwined with new, fictional faces, all immersed in devious and delicious plots and plans for the England’s future. Parry blurs the line so well the reader will finish wondering what was real and what was fiction.

Centered around the tumultuous and ever shifting relationship of philosopher and astronomer, (and SPY!) John Dee (Zodiac Sign: Cancer) and Elizabeth (Zodiac Sign: Virgo, hence, Virgin), Virgin and the Crab unfolds with meticulous detail, parring fact and fiction seamlessly, and thoroughly. Virgin and the Crab begins with the death of Henry the VII and ends with the accession to the throne of his daughter, Elizabeth. Meaty, full of twists, turns, plotting, devious schemes, love, secret messages sent via flowers, astrology charts, and magic, Virgin and the Crab captures and holds the imagination long after the book is finished.

Written (almost) like a play, complete with a list of characters (it gets complex!) in the beginning, the reader is transported through time as if witnessing a theatrical masterpiece (which it is!).

Lush, vivid, filled with longing, humor, deception and an uncanny attention to detail for each and every scenario, Virgin and the Crab delivers historical fiction lovers a wallop of a tale. Well written, fast paced, intricate, it’s a must read for any Tudor/Elizabethan fans.

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mom, aspiring writer, avid photographer & volunteer for Missie’s Closet, an emergency food & necessities pantry for the low-income in her area.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Robert Parry. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Category: For Fans of Historical Fiction, Genre Fiction, Gift Ideas, Historical, Literature & Fiction

Comments (13)

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  1. 11
    Carol Wong says:

    I am surprised that I passed this review up. Now that I have read some historical fiction that covers the Tudor, I think I would really love this one. I know nothing about John Dee so this would be a great introduction. Will put this one on my wishlist.

    Carol Wong

  2. 10
  3. 9

    […] our review of Virgin and the Crab by Robery Parry? 1 winner will receive their own […]

  4. 8
    Teddy says:

    I bow my head in shame. Robert sent me this book and I haven’t had a chance to read it. I must read it soon, it sounds like a gem.
    Teddy recently posted..The Snowstorm by Alexander Pushkin

  5. 7
    Robert Parry says:

    Claudia, thank you so much for such an insightful and generous review. You have captured the mood of the story perfectly in these few paragraphs.
    Robert Parry recently posted..GOTHIC REVIVAL AND THE TOWN HALLS OF THE NORTH

  6. 6
    RivkaBelle says:

    I LOVE books that make me stop and go “whoa, wait – what really happened?” The fact this is also touted as being fast-paced and well-written gives it enough interest points to be put on the “Try-To-Read” list — if it shows up in the library, it will so go home with me ;)

  7. 5
    Amber says:

    Like the reviewer and the rest of you, I’m a history geek as well, ESPECIALLY where the Tudors are concerned. I even have a Tudor rose tattoo!

    I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR!

  8. 4
    justpeachy36 says:

    I love historical’s too! I was a history major once upon a time and finding books that can effectively meld history and fiction is sometimes difficult. I like the title and references to the zodiac signs, that was a creative touch. The time of the Tudor’s is also one of my favorites. The Moreland Dynasty books by Cynthia Harrod Eagles span a huge amount of English history including the time of the Tudor’s, if you haven’t read them, you’d like them.

    I might have to give this one a try.
    justpeachy36 recently posted..On My Wish List 2

    • 4.1
      RivkaBelle says:

      I was a double-degree student in Literature and History, and drive myself batty critiquing books as I read them. I have a major problem with historical fiction that doesn’t read ‘true’. If you’re going to really not follow the language/etc, then REALLY depart from it, ya know? Go way out, or try to be real. :)

  9. 3
    Colleen Turner says:

    I am addicted to all things Tudor! Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir have both written wonderful fiction (and also nonfiction, in the case of Alison Weir) books stretched out across the Tudor years and I now grab everything I can related to them. This book sounds awesome! I had no idea Elizabeth was a Virgo and, when I first read the title, assumed the “Virgin” reference was to the fact that she called herself the Virgin queen. I have seen John Dee pop up in other novels and he is a very intriguing character. Thanks for giving me one more book to add to my TBR wishlist :).

  10. 2
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  11. 1

    I just reviewed this last week on my blog. I loved this book…one of the best Tudor historicals I’ve read. Robert is a truly gifted author. Great review!

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