This is the fourth novel—and much-anticipated conclusion—of John Crowley’s astonishing and lauded Ægypt sequence: a dense, lyrical meditation on history, alchemy, and memory. Spanning three centuries, and weaving together the stories of Renaissance magician John Dee, philosopher Giordano Bruno, and present-day itinerant historian and writer Pierce Moffitt, the Ægypt sequence is as richly significant as Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet or Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Crowley, a master prose stylist, explores transformations physical, magical, alchemical, and personal in this epic, distinctly American novel where the past, present, and future reflect each other.
Crowley's eloquent and captivating conclusion to his gypt tetralogy finds scholar Pierce Moffet still searching for the mythical gypt, an alternate reality of magic and marvels that have been encoded in our own world's myths, legends and superstitions. Pierce first intuited the realm's existence from the work of cult novelist Fellowes Kraft. Using Kraft's unfinished final novel as his Baedeker, Pierce travels to Europe, where he spies tantalizing traces of gypt's mysteries in the Gnostic teachings of the Rosicrucians, the mysticism of John Dee, the progressive thoughts of heretical priest Giordano Bruno and the "chemical wedding" of two 17th-century monarchs in Prague. Like Pierce's travels, the final destination for this modern fantasy epic is almost incidental to its telling. With astonishing dexterity, Crowley (Lord Byron's Novel) parallels multiple story lines spread across centuries and unobtrusively deploys recurring symbols and motifs to convey a sense of organic wholeness. Even as Pierce's quest ends on a fulfilling personal note, this marvelous tale comes full circle to reinforce its timeless themes of transformation, re-creation and immortality.