First published under the title The Theatre of the World, this is a captivating portrait of the crucible of magic, science and religion at the court of the doomed dreamer Rudolf II in Renaissance Prague.
Dr Peter Marshall has written widely on cultural and intellectual history and is the author of more than a dozen books translated into eleven languages, including The Philosopher's Stone- A Quest for the Secrets of Alchemy, World Astrology and Europe's Lost Civilization. His travel writing includes the books Around Africa and Celtic Gold. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.
"The story of Rudolf's life is a compelling one... Marshall, an accomplished elucidator of the occult, would appear to be the ideal guide to this golden age of intellectual exchange...an admirable and fascinating book" -- Alex Butterworth * Observer * "A sympathetic biography of this strange, intelligent aesthete-philosopher... a tragic as well as a fascinating figure" -- Alan Massie * Literary Review * "In this sparkling history, Peter Marshall assembles a cast of characters from the medieval world, their wit and wisdom an arresting case for the significance of their time...[a] generous and attentive recollection of voices too often silenced" -- Rowland Manthorpe * Observer * "Peter Marshall's excellent biography portrays the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II as a pivotal figure in the transition from the medieval worldview to our modern scientific outlook... Marshall succeeds brilliantly in capturing both the spirit of the age in which Rudolf lived and the complex character of the man he describes as "one of the last magi"" -- P.D. Smith * Guardian * "You could do a lot worse than to pack this book in your suitcase when you're visiting the city. His lucid prose and clear exposition will help you to decipher a good bit of Prague's labyrinth, and to explain in part why the capital of one of the less important European countries is one of the great cities of the world" -- Justin Quinn * Irish Times *