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By John Hall

The first biography of a mercurial personality from the Elizabethan underworld – a seducer, undercover agent and murderer
Claiming to be inheritor to the emperors of Byzantium, an unique yet elusive determine named Theodore Paleologus surfaced in mysterious conditions within the Elizabethan underworld. this primary biography of a unprecedented personality provides new documentary facts which helps his imperial pretensions—long disregarded through historians—but additionally exposes him as a seducer, a undercover agent, and, such a lot intriguingly of all, a ruthless murderer within the pay of the depraved Earl of Lincoln. during this outstanding account, award-winning writer John corridor plots the genuine lives of Theodore Paleologus and his 3 sons—from agreement killings to battling within the Civil struggle and pioneering days within the Caribbean slave trade—and units their tale opposed to parallel careers at the wilder shorelines of literature, starting from dainty Regency verses to Magic Realism, besides crime thrillers, excellent stories of reincarnation, the bloodline of Christ, and a declare to the throne of England.

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Yet after years of campaigning Theodore knew what worry used to be like, and the impolite fare at the desk or the uncouth manners of his neighbours will be taken in his stride. And within the stables Paleologus used to be grasp. Italian tools of horse breeding, learnt in his Urbino days, have been copied by way of prime English nobles who competed to obtain the easiest Italian services. the second one Earl of Lincoln’s mythical meanness didn't expand to his stables, for no matter what else should be acknowledged opposed to the fellow, nobody puzzled his wisdom of horses, the phenomenal caliber of these he bred or his willingness to open his handbag to uphold this attractiveness. As occasions will exhibit, James of Scotland himself said the distinction of the earl’s stables. even if, Lincolnshire on the finish of the 16th century was once a backwater, and a infamous one. Lincoln itself used to be a minimum of 3 days’ horseback trip from London through the outdated North street or Ermine highway, a disintegrating relic from Roman occasions, now little greater than a muddy song. guests dreaded not just the county’s lonely roads and repeated flooding yet its road robbers and opposed, ignorant natives. The ill-drained fenlands had the blackest identify of all, including the ague and malaria to the perils dealing with the outsider. for the way may perhaps any guy remain fit there, requested the antiquary and traveler Sir William Dugdale, ‘the air being for the main half cloudy, gross and entire of rotten Harrs [sea mists], the water putrid and muddy, yea, packed with loathsome vermin, the earth spungy and boggy, the fireplace noisome through the stink of smoaky Hassocks? ’23 within the Anatomy of depression, Burton wrote in echoing phrases of Lincolnshire’s ‘bogs, fens, mists, all demeanour of putrefaction, contagious and filthy noisome smells’. Even a century later, whilst drainage had began to remodel the fenland, its enduring ill-fame used to be summarised via a author who shuddered to think about ‘the grim rustics of this motley position … a wierd half-human and ungainly brood’. The county had the crown due to the fact Henry VIII’s time. The rebel often called the Pilgrimage of Grace began in Lincolnshire, and used to be savagely suppressed through royal forces ordered to ‘cause such dreadful execution to be performed upon various the population of each city, village and hamlet that experience indignant during this uprising, besides through putting them on timber as by means of the quartering of them, and the environment in their heads and quarters in each town’. 24 The county’s impoverishment worsened through the past due 16th century because of widespread outbreaks of plague. within the years 1586 and 1587, while the plague mixed with crop failure and catastrophic floods, the town of Lincoln have been so overrun by means of refugees from the nation-state that each one outsiders have been forbidden access, whereas the fearsome pestilence of 1590 used to be honored through a broadcast ballad, A Mournfull Dittee at the loss of life of yes Judges and Justices of the Peace and divers different gents, who died instantly after the Assizes holden at Lincoln. within the spring of 1599, the 12 months of Paleologus’s arrival at Tattershall, the plague struck once more.

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