The astonishing story of the man who put Britain on the map, and the covert plot that gave birth to the modern world
17 November 2016 | Royal HB | £25 | 368 pages | ISBN 9780715651100
‘A spectacular book with a wide range of insights into the seventeenth century’
Dancer, soldier, impresario, sea captain, poet, publisher, gentleman, secret agent… and the man who put modern Britain on the map. John Ogilby’s life is an astonishing picaresque adventure which is so fantastic as to be unbelievable. And yet very little is known about the man himself and his legacy has faded into obscurity. Alan Ereira’s fascinating biography is about to change all that.
Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance – because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby’s first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II’s Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had survived through plague, war and shipwreck; had built the first Irish theatre with his own money, and seen London go up in flames. The world of his youth had been turned upside down. Beset by danger, he carefully concealed his biography in codes and cyphers, which meant that the truth about his life has remained unknown until today.
In this book, Alan Ereira brings the hidden history to light, revealing that Ogilby’s celebrated Britannia is far more than a harmless road atlas: it is, rather, filled with secrets designed to serve Charles II’s sinister purpose…
The Nine Lives of John Ogilby reveals:
The secret at the heart of Britannia — a plot that reached to the very highest echelons
The surprising truth about John Ogilby’s family and his legacy
Religious upheaval in the most dangerous years
Britain has ever faced
The tumultuous changes to Britain in Ogilby’s lifetime – from a profoundly medieval to a recognisably modern culture
The moment that Britain truly came into being as a quantifiable and enlightened nation, sure of the reaches of its own shores
With 41 black-and-white illustrations including 8 maps
“A long and colourful life… Britannia is unquestionably a landmark in the story of mapping”
Jeremy Harwood, author of To the Ends of the Earth: 100 Maps That Changed the World
“[Ogilby was] the Prodigy of his time, sending into the world so many large and learned Volumes, as well in Verse as in Prose, as will make posterity much indebted to his Memory”
William Winstanley, The Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687)
Your introduction to Ogilby, that mysterious man, awaits — click here for an exclusive look at the first chapter.