Xearthly Joys Virgin Earth

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9780007712007: Xearthly Joys Virgin Earth

Sweeping historical novel from Philippa Gregory the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin’s Lover. Set in the 1600s and seen through the eyes of John Tradescant, gardener to the great men of the age.

A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant’s story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives.

As gardener and confidante to Sir Robert Cecil, Tradescant is well placed to observe the social and political changes that are about to sweep through the kingdom. While his master conjures intrigues at Court, Tradescant designs for him the magnificent garden at Hatfield, scouring the known world for ever more wonderful plants: new varieties of fruit and flower, the first horse chestnuts to be cultivated in England, even larches from Russia.

Moving to the household of the flamboyant Duke of Buckingham, Tradescant witnesses at first hand the growing division between Parliament and the people; and the most loyal of servants must find a way to become an independent squire.

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Review:

‘When it comes to writers of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory is in the very top league’
Daily Mail

‘A hugely enjoyable and unexpectedly moving book’
Daily Telegraph

‘Vivid and enthralling... good gripping stuff’ SundayTimes

From the Back Cover:

A traveller in a time of discovery, the greatest gardening pioneer of his day, yet a man of humble birth: John Tradescant’s story is a mirror to the extraordinary age in which he lives.

Sir Robert Cecil, adviser to the newly crowned King James I, is a man at the heart of the social and political changes which are poised to sweep through the kingdom. But when Cecil needs a confidant he turns not to his fellow courtiers or aristocrats, but to his gardener John Tradescant’s clear-sighted honesty, loyalty and inventive practicality make him uniquely trustworthy.

He scours the known world for new plants to grow in the outstanding gardens with which he graces the great houses of the age. He is the first to cultivate the horse chestnut, many varieties of fruit and flowers, even larches from Russia. His work enables him to witness history being made, from the gunpowder plot to the accession of Charles and the growing animosity between Parliament and court. Here both Charles and Tradescant are in thrall to the irresistible Duke of Buckingham, who commands the king’s heart while commandeering Tradescant to his service.

Tradescant has always been faithful to his masters, but Buckingham is unlike any he’s ever known, his flamboyant charm and energy countered by his reckless military schemes. The court may love him but the people hate him, and it is this conflict that John must resolve to make the change from feudal retainer to independent squire.

Brilliantly portraying this turbulent period of clashing world-views, combining keen insight into the politics and personalities of a country teetering towards civil war with sumptuous details of plants, horticulture and garden design, Philippa Gregory again demonstrates her ability to entertain, enthral and bring the past vividly to life.

Philippa Gregory has a history degree from the University of Sussex and a PhD in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. She is a fellow of Kingston University. She lives with her family in Sussex.

'PHILIPPA GREGORY:'

‘The first lady of intelligent historical fiction’
SUNDAY TIMES

'WIDEACRE'

‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows’
PETER ACKROYD

'FALLEN SKIES'

‘Superb crafted, sparkles with period detail...a fine book’
DAILY MAIL

‘Passionately felt... it is both uncompromising and brave’
ELIZABETH BUCHAN, 'DAILY TELEGRAPH'

'A RESPECTABLE TRADE'

‘The great roar and sweep of history is successfully braided into the ultimate daily detail of this compelling and intelligent book’
PENNY PERRICK, ' THE TIMES'

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