There is more than one history of the world. Before science defined the modern age, other powers, wondrous and magical, once governed the universe, their lore perfected within a lost capital of hieroglyphs, wizard-kings, and fabulous monuments.
In the 1970s, a historian named Pierce Moffett moves to the New England countryside to write a book about Ægypt, driven by an idea he dare not believe: that the physical laws of the universe once changed and may change again. Yet the notion is not his alone. Something waits at the locked estate of Fellowes Kraft, author of romances about Will Shakespeare and Giordano Bruno and Dr. John Dee, something for which Pierce and those near him have long sought without knowing it: a key, perhaps, to Ægypt ...
Reengaging the motifs of alternate lives, worlds and world-views that pulsed through his remarkable Little, Big, Crowley's new novel shapes itself around unorthodox historian Pierce Moffett, who seeks to explain the secret histories of the world, the old notions of science, religion and philosophy that have survived in astrology, myths and superstition; not the real, geographical Egypt, but AEgypt, the cognate country of the imagination from which the gypsies came. In resonating stories nested one inside the other, Crowley describes Blackbury Jambs, Pa., where among ex-students turned shepherds and mystics turned babysitters, Pierce finally finds himself part of a community and rediscovers the source of his quest, the historical novels of local writer Fellowes Kraft, who has his own stories to tellof young Will Shakespeare, Elizabethan Doctor John Dee's desire to speak with angels and Giordano Bruno's thirst to understand his world, for which he would be burned as a heretic. Affecting, cerebral, surprising and delightful, this extraordinary philosophical romance suggests an unlikely but thriving marriage between a writer like Anne Tyler and one such as Jorge Luis Borges.