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Virgin and the Crab - Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the Early Life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  23 reviews
12 Years, 2 Kings, 3 Queens - the Ultimate Tudor Novel

The brilliant young mathematician and astronomer John Dee has one overwhelming obsession: liberty. Abandoned and in danger, Elizabeth Tudor has one simple aim: survival. This is their story.

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Set against the background of the English Reformation, and threatened by a vengeful and unforgiving Queen, the
Published May 6th 2014 (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  74 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Start your review of Virgin and the Crab - Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the Early Life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor
Michelle Stockard Miller
When I finished reading 'Virgin', I told Robert that it should be recognized by a major publisher. He responded by saying that most publishers will not touch a debut novel of over 100,000 words. 'Virgin' is close to 200,000. It's a shame because this book is one of the best historical novels I have ever read. There's no fluff in the pages of this book. Just straight historical fiction that read almost like non-fiction, but nowhere near as boring. Not that I generally think that non-fiction is bo ...more
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asked, own
The book starts out with a List of Players which, thank you Robert Parry, I definitely used. I love history but am not a huge Tudor fan as some others out there. So when they refer to, say, the Earl of Devonshire, I know exactly who they are talking about. The time span follows Elizabeth as a small child, through the death of her half brother Edward VI, King of England, to the fateful reign of Jane Grey, to the succession of Queen Mary and through her death to Elizabeth's ascension.

This book is
Charla Wilson
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 co ...more
Tudor Book Blog
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A The Tudor Book Blog Review(

The Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry is an intriguing look into the lives of John Dee and the young Elizabeth I during the tumultuous reigns of Edward VI and Mary I.


The main plot of the story focuses on the relationship between Dee and Elizabeth. Their relationship and, subsequently the story, begins with their first meeting. Dee discovers the young Elizabeth hiding and crying over the death of Henry VIII's fifth wife, Kat
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying I have been aware of Virgin and the Crab for quite some time, maybe since its release. I think I looked at the cover, the subtitle, and thought it was a bit too much on the mystical side of things for my liking. With my hand on my heart, I apologise for having judged your book in such a way Mr Parry. And now........ BRAVO!!!!

I have read much Tudor period historical fiction, so I am familiar with the people and events. Here I felt as if new life was breathed into the story.
Natalie Grueninger
This remarkable novel by Robert Parry is one of the best Tudor novels I have ever read. At various points throughout the story, I asked myself ‘How?’ How can a person who has never experienced life in Tudor England bring it to life so spectacularly?

The novel revolves around John Dee, a brilliant mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, navigator and consultant to Elizabeth I. Although a respected scientist, Dee was also dedicated to the study of alchemy, divination and essentially, magic. Add mast
Maggie Secara
I enjoyed this book for the first little while. And yet somehow I just stopped about half way through (52% says Kindle) and never returned. Actually I had stopped once before, around 25%, I think. I read a number of other books and worked on my own. One day I decided to look in again and got caught up in the story. Maybe the pacing is off, I'm not sure because truth to tell I put it down the second time some months ago. But it was still sitting here marked as if I was reading it, so I thought pe ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many books about the Tudors that it seems almost impossible to find a fresh, untold story set in Tudor times. The author of this book, Robert Parry, has managed to do just that! In this novel, he tackles the relationship between the young Elizabeth Tudor and one of her great supporters, John Dee, a renowned astrologist and mathematician. The writing style is not stuffy in the least - I love the way Mr. Parry broke up his story into "acts" and "interludes." I found it very refreshing ...more
Donna Maguire
This book covers the relationship between Elizabeth Tudor, later Queen Elizabeth I and her friend and tutor, the astronomer and astrologer John Dee. It starts just before the death of her half-brother Edward VI and then moves through the short reign of Lady Jane Grey and on to probably the hardest period of Elizabeth's life - the time under the reign of her half-sister, Mary I. The novel shows how the relationship between Elizabeth and Dee developed over time and through quite a staggering amoun ...more
This is probably one of the best books I've read in the last 12 months. Written about the lesser known John Dee during the years after the death of Henry VIII, through the reign of Bloody Mary and up to the coronation of Elizabeth I, it tells the story of those that were instrumental in Elizabeth's survival and triumph, including Robert Dudley and William Cecil to name a few. If it were just for the history itself it would be wonderful but it was the Puckish Shakespearean narration that truly ca ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the novel begins a young John Dee, who is visiting his sick father, a gentleman server to King Henry Vlll, has a chance encounter with a sobbing young girl. It is the young Princess Elizabeth Tudor, who is mourning the beheading of her father's fifth wife, Katherine Howard. In an attempt to comfort the girl, who is also remembering the death of her own mother, Anne Boleyn, he makes shadows on the wall to make her smile. Thus begins the lifelong friendship of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor, seal ...more
Ελίζα Νάστου
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I simply adored "Virgin and the Crab". First of all, the story takes place in a really interesting Tudor period, after Henry VIII's death and just until Elizabeth I's accession to the throne. I didn't know as much about these years as I did about Henry's reign, but now I do: they were fascinating times. The story is breathtaking: rebellions, deaths of Kings/Queens, plots, spies, imprisonments, obstacles in the way of poor Elizabeth who found herself constantly in danger. Elizabeth is portrayed e ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This enjoyable collection of vignettes from the lives of Elizabeth I and the astronomer John Dee offers a fresh perspective on their long, loving relationship. The essential loneliness of Elizabeth's life is highlighted by looking at the pitiably few people among the throngs surrounding her that she could trust. Kat Ashley, Robert Dudly, William Cecil, and John Dee. There may be a few more, but these are the names we remember. I enjoyed this book very much, and while I'm sorry there weren't more ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I admit to being put off by the title at first, but once I realized it referred to astrology, I opened it up and could not put it down. Few books discuss the time between the death of Henry VIII and the rise of Elizabeth I, a fascinating time in English history. And learning about John Dee was such a treat. Such an interesting person to have as a narrator of the story. Anyone who enjoys Tudor history will want to read this book.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘And what of we two, master Dee?
Our nativities are oddly matched, are they not: the Virgin and the Crab.’

- Excerpt from Virgin and the Crab

Virgin and the Crab transports the reader back in time beginning with the death of King Henry VIII through to the accession of his daughter, Elizabeth I. Though a familiar tale, this novel revolves around the little known tale, that of the relationship between Elizabeth Tudor and her tutor, John Dee.
Robert has a remarkable way of being able to transport the
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Thoughts --

The story reads like a play, and written in a narrative style, as if it were presently happening.

If you are not used to this style of writing, it can throw you off a little.

But I didn't mind it at all and I think it would be really great to see this book made into a movie. I think it would be famously remembered.

In fact, when I look back on this book in the future, I will remember the different scenes in it, just as I would Romeo and Juliet, or Hamlet. It was such a unique style an

I had heard nothing but good about this book so when I finally got around to reading it, it was quite disappointing because I found the characterization cardboard and shallow, and it included every Tudor cliche out there. And I kept waiting for the story to begin properly but it never really did, instead there was a series of scenes that loosely tied together but unfortunately didn't amount to a cohesive story or strong narrative.

The author really needed to do more extensive/better research to
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of "Virgin and the Crab" by Robert Parry through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest.This novel represents historical fiction at its best.I loved this book from beginning to end.

The story set in the 1550's outlines the historical facts and fiction of Tudor England, and shows the bond between Elizabeth Tudor and her mentor. We begin with the death of King Henry through to the accession of his daughter, Elizabeth I. This novel revolves around the relationship between Elizabeth Tudor and he
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I really enjoyed reading this. I love historical fiction about this time period in general and I appreciated the way this story unfolded. Sometimes it was like reading a play and other times as if you were a fly on the wall. It could have used a more careful copy editor though since I noticed several typos.
Carol Denby
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a history fan, especially Tutor history, this is very informative and entertaining.
Quite unusual and very enjoyable read.
Well researched, suspenseful and moving historical fiction in present tense.
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Robert Stephen Parry is a UK writer of adult historical fiction, bringing you stories from a wide range of time periods, from Tudor & Elizabethan, through 18th-century Georgian, right up to the era of Victorian England and the Belle Époque. Well researched and vivid historical settings combine with unusual elements of mystery, romance and magical realism. Publications to date:

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Summer is perfect for plenty of things: mojitos, sleeping with the window fan on, and sprawling out with a hot romance novel (in a heavily...
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“A man should not glory in what he already knows but in what he has yet to learn.” 6 likes
“But then, she wonders,just what kind of man would ever give her the courage to marry at all- to overcome that dreadful fear of death that seemed always to accompany the very thought of love? It was illogical, idiotic and childish. And yet the child was with her always; and always she would be afraid unless someone could place a light down there inside that dark and chilly heart of hers and chase all the ghosts away - the ghosts of Katherine Howard, of Jane Seymour and, not least, that of her own poor mother. They accompanied her always, those spirits - especially at this kind of time, a time of being alone, of being feminine and reflective. They would all gather round to whisper in her ear and warn her - so that even as she looks up once more into her mirror she almost expects to see them there, ranged behind her shoulders, their faces full of concern and anxiety. Never trust them - never trust the men, for they will betray you always the moment you surrender to them!” 0 likes
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