Monday, February 24, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Bride

by Brandy Purdy

Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Kensington Publishing
Paperback; 272p
ISBN-10: 0758273363

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

Praise for the novels of Brandy Purdy:

“Recommended for readers who can’t get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory’s books.” –Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife

“Purdy wonderfully re-imagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters.” –Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne

Buy the Book

About the Author:

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

My thoughts:

I have to admit I have long wondered about the mother of my dearest Queen Anne Boleyn, the marvelously elusive, Elizabeth Boleyn, sister of The Duke of Norfolk, wife of Thomas Boleyn, mother to Mary, Anne and George and grandmother of Elizabeth I.  I was beyond thrilled to see that Brandy Purdy had taken on the exploration of this pivotal and often overlooked Tudor woman.  I am amazed how many novels have written Elizabeth Boleyn off completely, replacing her with a step mother, fondly referred to by one as Lady Bo, rather than dive into the deep end, as Purdy has done, and truly explored the maternal nature and character of the mother of one of England's most famous, and sadly most notorious, queens.

Brandy Purdy presents the character of Elizabeth Boleyn in her latest novel, The Boleyn Bride, as a complex woman.  A volatile mix of pride and beauty living a life of negligent self-indulgence, disappointment and ultimately bitter loss and self-blame.  We meet Elizabeth at the end of her life, full of bitter remorse for her own lost life, once so full of pride and promise, as she mourns the loss of two children and the hope of ever being a mother to the third.  She is a woman full of loathing and regret for what might have been and embitterment for not only herself but even more so for the father of her children, Thomas Boleyn, the man she was forced to marry and never liked, much less loved. 

As an avid reader of historical fiction and during my graduate studies in history I have always been confounded by the marriage of Elizabeth, beloved daughter of The Duke of Norfolk, to Thomas Boleyn.  One would expect the daughter of one of England's foremost peers to marry well, perhaps royally well, and yet here we have Elizabeth, a beautiful and vivacious young woman, living at the Tudor court as maid of honor to the Queen, wedded to Thomas Boleyn.  At first glance one assumes it must have been one of the rare love matches of the time, but something about that just never sat well with me.  That being said, I can neither comprehend why Norfolk was persuaded, indebted to or coerced into the arrangement of the marriage.  Perhaps the reason is lost to time, but it certainly provides fodder for the novelist!    

Brandy Purdy gives us Elizabeth forced to marry Thomas Bullen, her spite filled name nickname for her unwanted, unloved and ultimately despised spouse.  Thomas goes so far as to encourage his wife to become mistress to King Henry, but Elizabeth denies him, out of devotion for Queen Catherine and a touch of spite.   Rather, Purdy gives us the character of Remi Jouet, as the man who becomes the true lifelong love for Elizabeth.  Remi Jouet is a man of whom I have never heard mentioned nor of whom I could find any evidence, but Purdy does note in Postscript, that Remi Jouet, was indeed a doll maker, a skilled artisan, whose few remaining creations can be found today in museums and private collections.   I was completely perplexed by the relationship of Elizabeth and Remi and as I read truly thought he was a fictional insertion by Purdy until reading the postscript.  Amazing, truly and to Purdy I raise a toast for her amazingly complex and skillfully crafted novel giving historical fiction readers a glimpse into the life of Elizabeth, mother and grandmother of Queens. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Hashtag: #BoleynBrideTour

The entire tour schedule with links follows:

Friday, February 14
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 17
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, February 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, February 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, February 20
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Friday, February 21
Review & Giveaway at WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, February 24
Review & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, February 25
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, February 26
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at Found Between the Covers
Thursday, February 27
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, February 28
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, March 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Tuesday, March 4
Review & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, March 6
Review & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, March 7
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales by A.C. Birdsong ~ featuring a character interview with Bug

Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales

by A.C. Birdsong

About Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales
Genre: Fantasy

On a small farm just outside of a tiny town lives Jacob, the last in a long line of Caretakers of Magic. His mission in life as the world’s only magician (in fact the only person who knows magic is possible) is to preserve magical skill in preparation for the day when magic is needed in the world. Other than what is required to train an apprentice, Caretakers aren’t to be practitioners, a tenet Jacob adheres to religiously.

Jacob has been teaching an apprentice, Palmer, for eight years. As a student, Palmer is a dismal failure, but this does not stop him from experimenting. Feeling that the pace of his instruction is unnecessarily slow, Palmer takes the little magic he knows, twists it, and uses it to trap Jacob and a young neighbor Lucy inside an old book of fairy tales (The Tall, Thick Book of Tales). Palmer refuses to release them unless Jacob imparts all magical knowledge to him in an instantaneous way.

From the moment of Jacob’s entrapment, Birdsong creates three interwoven storylines: Palmer’s dealings with the townspeople, who are searching for Lucy and quickly suspect Palmer for her disappearance; Jacob’s journey to escape, which takes him through scenes written into the book by Palmer, designed to harass Jacob and to speed his compliance along; and Lucy’s interaction with the book’s original characters, all magical themselves, trapped within the margins by Palmer’s spell, and are united in their desire to expel the intruders. Added to this mix are an enchanted bookworm and the fairy tales’ narrator, who have objectives of their own.

Readers will enjoy Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales. Birdsong skillfully mixes the real and the imaginary worlds with a lean and fast-paced style. A well-crafted and fun novel with colorful characters and great dialogue written for any fan of adult fiction and suitable for young adults and older adolescents as well.

Character Interview with The Worm:

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: [Shrugs] Not much to tell, really. I was born as a mindless paper boring machine in a used book shop. Worked my way half through the store before I became enchanted into sentience when my host book, The Tall, Thick Book of Tales, was enchanted. That’s when I gained wizardly powers. Later the spell enchanting the magic book collapsed, and because I was present in that volume during the collapse, I merged with the basilisk, and that’s how you see me here. Still a wizard, but alas one with severe halitosis. So, pretty much a normal life, as magically fictional ones go.

Q: What do you mean in the book when you say "Tasty, but not as sweet as they claimed revenge would be?"

A: Well, we should put it into context. I had just met Jacob, who I thought was my benefactor (though it turned out it was not he), and was hosting him at my small retreat on the copyright page, when a bird flew by. I scooped the bird in mid-flight and ate it. It was rather tasteless in both senses of the word. But my comment referred to how sweet revenge is, since birds usually eat the worms, not vice versa.

Q: I see. What did you think about Jacob?

A: Yes, Jacob. On the whole, very well mannered, though he can be a bit abrupt at times. I thought the way he handled his naughty protégé was rather deft. Sadly, the way he handled his nice paramour was not. Still, a true wizard, whether he wants to believe it or not.

Q: What about Palmer? What did you think of him?

A: Ah, my benefactor. True genius corrupted by blind ego and impatience. I wish we could have conversed. A magnificent sense of humor, but absolutely no sense of repercussion -- a characteristic, I feel, he would have developed had he allowed Jacob to drum his lessons into him as originally planned.

Q: Drum. Cute.

A: [nods expectantly, antenna waving]

Q: Let’s move on. What’s all this about soul tasting? Isn’t that a bit ghoulish?

A: Why, there’s nothing ghoulish about it at all. I am very passionate about the souls of books, having tasted so many. As I revealed to Jacob during our first meeting, all books have a soul or they could not influence anyone. And they all tasted differently to me, let me tell you.

Q: What do they taste like?

A: As I say, all different. Too many to catalog. But, for example, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels tasted faintly of horse dung and human urine. Not unpleasant at all for a worm. On the other hand, Gertrude Jekyll’s Annuals and Biennials tasted strongly of slug bait. Can you imagine? The horror![shudders]

Q: Do you miss anything about being just a humble bookworm?

A: Only the perfect happiness of true ignorance. When you are driven by instinct alone, you don’t worry about anything. You just do or die. A bookworm eats its way through life, and dies shortly after it finishes its last meal.

Q: Who is your favorite original character from The Tall, Thick Book of Tales, your adoptive home?

A: [shakes massive head] The story characters. Well, I should say the basilisk, because I suspect by its merging with me it prevented my annihilation at the end. I should also say the queen Gwen, because she did the same for me at an earlier moment during the story by negotiating a truce between myself and them. But truly, that cantankerous barren old wizard, Merlin, has a certain endearing quality. So much like a eunuch in a harem, surrounded by a book full of magical creatures, possessing a great deal of magical knowledge himself, but unable to perform the simplest spell, because in his stories, he uses none.

Q: A wizard with no power?

A: [nods] He couldn’t cast a fishing line.

Q: [sighs] What about anyone within the novel Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales who lives in the outside world - basically Palmer’s storyline?

A: I have no favorites or knowledge of any, as I have few pre-enchantment memories which don’t relate to books. But near the end of the story, when the original characters attempted vermicide, I viewed the face of a terrified human giant. A huge, red-faced, square jawed, bulbous nosed individual, whose cold eyes were wide with fear.  His mouth was a cavern, his massive jaw open wide, silver-filled molars sparkling in the half-light.

Q: You mean the sheriff?

A: As you say. I’d be entertained with his story, I’m sure.

Q: We all were. But besides the sheriff, who in the real world of the book would you like to meet most?

A: The bookshop owner of my pre-enchantment days, so I could shake his hand. His system of filing was exceedingly arbitrary, which made life a true journey. I’d find myself exiting SAE Screw Thread Tables and entering an Archie comic. He apparently was so lazy he’d just throw books on any old shelf. My early life could have been very different had he been more meticulous in his librarianship.

Q: Finally, If you could worm your way through any book ever written, which would you choose?

A: Why, Jacob’s The Book of Truth, of course. Now that I’m a fully magical creature, I believe my life span is considerably longer. That single volume contains all the magic books ever written. Palmer and Merlin are trapped there as well. And because no one can utter a falsehood inside, it will be a lovely, very long feast indeed.

Author Bio

A.C. Birdsong wrote the first draft of Inside the Tall, Thick Book of Tales during an unseasonably cold winter in Athens, Greece. “I spent all my time either writing the story or searching for a reasonably warm and cheap place to write it. Often this left me huddled near tepid steam heaters in dingy hotel rooms, and drinking endless cups of weak Nes to fight the cold. Eventually the weather turned, which was not only fortunate for me, but for Jacob and Palmer as well, because they probably would still be fighting it out inside that book otherwise.”

A.C. lives in Seattle, where people voluntarily allow themselves to be trapped in books on a regular basis. This is his first novel.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Isabella - Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer

Isabella: Braveheart of France

by Colin Falconer

About Isabella: Braveheart of France
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Cool Gus Publishing
Paperback; 218p
ISBN-10: 1621250911

She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win.

About the Author:

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer's blog. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

My thoughts:

Isabella, proud daughter of the French King Philip IV, was raised from the cradle to look to her marriage to bring glory and honor to France.  She was raised to obey, but was a born observer.  So while she outwardly was everything she was meant and believed to be: innocent, complacent and even servile; inside Isabella a remarkable intelligent with the equally remarkable gift of insight into reading the innuendo and duplicity of politics.  She keenly observed the double entendre of politics and learned to listen and watch before she ever realized that she would desperately need these skills later in life.

Isabella was an innocent girl of twelve with a head full of romantic notions of knights and maidens and looked to marriage for true love, indeed she fell in love with her groom the moment she first saw him. Unfortunately for Isabella, she was an unknowing pawn in the never ending strife between England and France and her groom, King of England, Edward II was not a typical man.  Edward was neither a born leader nor a man of character and preferred almost any activity to kingship and most importantly was in love with another, Piers Gaveston.  Isabella realized quickly that she would have to fight to win the heart of her husband and she steeled her will and determination to do just that.

Isabella maintained the obedience that was expected of queens and did manage, almost through her shear will to win some signs of tenderness from her husband and in time managed to conceive several children.  Isabella tried to consul her husband to rule and for a time he heeded her advice, but after the execution of Piers, an event Isabella thought would be her liberation, another more devious and more politically motivated favorite emerged to rule Edward, Hugh Dispenser.

As Isabella became a woman she came to realize that it wasn't Piers or even Dispenser that was the problem for her, for her marriage and for her adopted country.  The problem was the inability of Edward to make a decision thoughtfully and stand by it, to rule wisely and shrewdly, to play the game of politics that Isabella had observed so keenly.  After so many years of marriage, of disappointment, betrayal, broken promises and virtual abandonment, the caged lion within Isabella rose and she took her life into her own hands.

Falconer breathes life into Isabella.  For this reader, her motives and her reasoning become understandable.  Falconer sheds the myth of Isabella as the "she-wolf" and brings to the reader the story of a child bride who learns that in order to survive she must go against everything she was raised to be and embody and to disappoint the hopes of her beloved father and France to save the country she had come to love.

I was intrigued from the first page and remained riveted until the last.  Isabella:  Braveheart of France is a must read and one you will not regret.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: I am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith (for HNS)

I am Livia

by Phyllis T. Smith

Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: April 2014
410 pp
ISBN: 9781477848821

Livia Drusilla is a fourteen year old girl when she overhears her father planning the assassination of Julius Caesar.  Despite her young age her father favors her with political discussion and debate and Livia believes her life choices are for the good of Rome and not herself.  Her first sacrifice is in marriage to Tiberius Nero, a man her father needs on his side in the aftermath of Julius Caesar's assassination.  She resists the marriage, but finally submits for the future of Rome.  

Livia had never considered that a man could inspire true passion within her until she met the adopted son of Julius Caesar, Caesar Octavianus (later Caesar Augustus), called Tavius, a family nickname.  Without looking back Livia was ruled by her heart and in so doing went against every principle she had henceforth held dear and found herself united with man she thought to hate and fear; united not only in marriage but in a true partnership that would last fifty-one years.

Though Smith's setting is the perilous time of Caesar, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra her novel is driven by characterization.  Smith's Livia is such a dynamic character, so approachably human; at times fearless and forceful, but also merciful and just.  Smith, just as masterfully creates Tavius, history's Caesar Augustus, distinguishing the political figure from and at the same time illustrating the life of the man.  The historical backdrop of Rome becomes more approachable, less academic, when seen through the lives of the Smith's characters.

I am Livia is a wonderful journey to ancient Rome as well as an amazing thoughtful insight into one of its most influential and unconventional citizens.  

Review as appeared in:  Historical Novels Review, Issue 67, February 2014, published by the Historical Novel Society.

Review: Miss Billings Treads the Boards by Carla Kelly (for the HNS)

Miss Billings Treads the Boards

by Carla Kelly

Title: Miss Billings Treads the Boards
Author: Carla Kelly
Released: December 1, 2013
Originally Published: 1993
Publisher: Camel Press

Miss Billings Treads the Boards offered enormous promise, but sadly fell short.  Henry Tewskbury-Hampton, Fifth Marquis of Grayson, runs into some excitement when he is attacked en route to a party and finds refuge with Bladesworth's Company of Actors. 

Katherine Billings, meanwhile, is en route to a new position as a governess, and learns that her new employer is unsavory in the extreme.  Katherine disembarks determined not to go through with her new placement when she is also swept up by Bladesworth's Company.  Without any other options, she agrees to join them.

Henry is enamored with Katherine and while he connives to stay with the actors as luck would have it some men turn up looking around for the missing Marquis.  Henry becomes Hal, a working actor and husband to Katherine, now Kate, as a rouse to continue hiding.

Throughout the novel both Hal and Kate experience emotional growth, but the novel ends with work still needing to be done.  Both main characters lacked depth and the plot was far too contrived to be plausible or believable.  That being said I found the novel entertaining but not engrossing in the least.  

Review as published in the Historical Novels Review, Issue 67, February 2014, Historical Novel Society, online edition,

Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart with Giveaway

Hijacked in Abstract

by Larissa Reinhart

Genre: Humorous Cozy Mystery
Length: 257 pages
Release Date: December 18, 2013


With my messenger bag bumping my back, I hugged my chest, figuring it best not to give an extra show to Shep and the boys. I followed Uncle Will down the hallway, waiting while he unlocked a door. The door opened and two faces turned to look at us. One I didn’t recognize, but judging by his despondent expression, I figured he was probably in a mess of trouble. The other person, another deputy, I identified immediately. Hard not to recognize those brown ochre curls with the highlights I had decided were transparent oxide-red lake. Or the lean, muscled body, much like Michelangelo’s David. Or by the strong jaw buttressing two adorable dimples that made a rare showing.

Unfortunately, I knew Deputy Luke Harper a little too well.

He gave me a scant nod and turned back to the perp.

My hand snuck back to my hair and yanked on a particularly tall cowlick in back. I gritted my teeth and gave myself a quick lecture not to make a scene. We had aired our irreconcilable differences behind the local roadhouse, Red’s County Line Tap, a few months ago and I had not quite recovered.

“That’s Tyrone Coderre,” said Uncle Will. “He’s going to give you a description to draw. We need a composite sketch.”

Uncle Will stopped me before I entered the room and pulled me to the side. “Can I leave Deputy Harper in there with you or do I need to call in another officer? Harper’s the one who picked up Coderre, so this is his investigation.”

“I’m quite capable of separating my personal and professional life,” I said, tilting my chin so I could eyeball Uncle Will. “You might want to ask the same of him.”

“I trust Luke not to screw up his job. You are another story.”

I gave him a “why, I never” gasp.

“I’m going to be watching through the two-way.” He tapped my messenger bag. “Lucky for you, I don’t know other artists to call during the middle of the night. Wouldn’t want to be accused of nepotism. But I want a sketch while the memory is still fresh in Coderre’s mind. Don’t disappoint me, Cherry.”

“So, this is an important investigation?” Excitement zipped through my veins and made my fingers tingle. “I won’t let you down. You can even deputize me if you want.”

Uncle Will chuckled. “Just draw us a good picture. That’s plenty helpful.”

“Yes, sir,” I said and snuck by him to enter the room. I nodded to the man in the black sweat suit behind the table and held out my hand. “Hello, Mr. Coderre. I’m Cherry Tucker, a local artist.”

“Don’t shake his hand,” barked Luke. “Are you crazy?”

Tyrone Coderre’s cuffed hands retreated below the table, and I blew out a hard breath.

Looked like it was going to be a long night. At least the criminal had manners.

Couldn’t say the same for the cop.

Buy links for Hijacked in Abstract:

About the Author:

Growing up in a small town, Larissa Reinhart couldn’t wait to move to an exotic city far from corn fields. After moving around the US and Japan, now she loves to write about roughhewn characters that live near corn fields, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble.

HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. QUICK SKETCH, a Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT, is in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL (December 2013).

Larissa lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook.

Connect with Larissa:


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Spotlight: Einstein: Relatively Simple by Ira Mark Egdall

Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Revealed in Everyday Language

Ira Mark Egdall

Author Bio:

Ira Mark Egdall is also the author of the eBook Unsung Heroes of the Universe 
and a popular science writer for He is a retired aerospace program manager with an undergraduate degree in physics from Northeastern University. Mark now teaches lay courses in modern physics at Lifelong Learning Institutes at Florida International
University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University. He also gives entertaining talks on Einstein and time travel. When not thinking about physics, Mark spends his time playing with his grandchildren and driving his wife of 45 years crazy. 

Author Links 
(NOTE: A new web site is currently in progress)
Twitter: @IMEgdall
Linkedin: Mark Egdall
Goodreads: Ira Mark Egdall

Book Genre:  Popular Science
Publisher:  World Scientific Publishing
Release Date:  February 24, 2014

Buy Links:

Book Description:

Einstein Relatively Simple brings together for the first time an exceptionally clear explanation of both special and general relativity. It is for people who always wanted to understand Einstein’s ideas but never thought it possible.

Told with humor, enthusiasm, and rare clarity, this entertaining book reveals how a former high school drop-out revolutionized our concepts of space and time. From E=mc2 and everyday time travel to black holes and the big bang, the book takes us all, regardless of any scientific background, on a mindboggling journey through the depths of Einstein's universe.

Along the way, we track Einstein through the perils and triumphs of his life — follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights — and chronicle the audacity, imagination, and sheer genius of the man recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern era. 



All knowledge begins in wonder.

In June of 1905, former high-school drop-out and lowly patent clerk Albert Einstein published a paper in the German Annals of Physics which revolutionized our understanding of space and time. What came to be known as the theory of special relativity predicted a strange new universe where time slows and space shrinks with motion.

In that same journal, Einstein proposed light comes in discreet packets of energy we now call photons. Along with Max Planck’s work, this insight sparked the quantum revolution. This in turn set off the greatest technological revolution in human history — enabling the invention of television, transistors, electronic digital computers, cell phones, digital cameras, lasers, the electron microscope, atomic clocks, MRI, sonograms, and many more modern-day devices.

Einstein’s follow-up article in September of 1905 proposed that mass and energy are equivalent. His famous equation, E = mc2, came to solve one of the great mysteries of modern science — how the Sun and stars shine. Some four decades later, Einstein’s breakthrough ushered in the atomic age.

In December of 1915, Albert Einstein — now Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Berlin — surpassed his already staggering accomplishments. In the midst of the turmoil and hardships of World War I, he produced his life’s masterpiece: a new theory of gravity. His audacious general theory of relativity revealed a cosmos beyond our wildest imagination. It predicted phenomena so bizarre even Einstein initially doubted their existence — black holes which trap light and stop time, wormholes which form gravitational time machines, the expansion of space itself, and the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago in the ultimate cosmic event: the Big Bang.

Not since Isaac Newton had a single physicist attained such monumental breakthroughs, and no scientist since has matched his breathtaking achievements. In recognition, TIME magazine selected Albert Einstein above such luminaries as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi, as the “Person of the Century” — the single individual with the most significant impact on the 20th century.

Albert Einstein has long since passed from this corporal world. Yet his fame lives on. His discoveries inspire today’s generation of physicists — providing stepping stones to a new understanding of the cosmos and perhaps someday a unified theory of all physics. His brilliance, independence of mind, and persistence continue to be an inspiration to us all. He remains the iconic figure of science, whose genius transcends the limits of human understanding.

I wrote Einstein Relatively Simple to tell Einstein’s story — to hopefully provide the non-expert a clear, step-by-step explanation of how he came to develop both special and general relativity. My goal is a book which is comprehensive, fun to read, and most important, understandable to the lay reader . . .

So come explore how an unknown patent clerk came to develop a new theory of time and space, how he came to supplant the illustrious Isaac Newton with a new theory of gravity. Along the way we will examine the mind of Albert Einstein, who preferred to think in pictures rather than words, follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights.

To quote one of my students; “You’ll never look at the universe the same way again!”

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