John Biggins

The Lion Ascendant

The Lion Ascendant by John Biggins

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It is the year of Our Lord sixteen hundred and twenty-six, and Christian Europe is once more at war with itself about something or other; whether religion, or trade, or dynastic rights, or all of those at once. And as if this were not sufficient strife and misery to be going on with, King Gustav Adolf Vasa of Sweden - hailed by religious visionaries and astrologers alike as Protestantism’s Lion from the North - now decides that the time has now come to settle accounts with his cousin Sigismund Vasa, King of Poland.

Right into the middle of this sorry mess there falls the 16-year old Flemish trainee surgeon Frans Michielszoon van Raveyck, obliged to enter service with a Swedish regiment after his master goes bankrupt as a result of imprudent speculation in copper futures. And despite his fervent wish to stay well clear of any fighting, his natal stars lead him through the marshlands of Polish Prussia, alternately ague-ridden and frozen solid, to the battlefield of Dirschau where he wins distinction and a medical scholarship - payable, as it turns out, in barrels of tar - by extracting a musket bullet from the Swedish King’s shoulder. However, the tar having proved insufficient to see him through his studies, he finds work as a surgeon in a Stockholm shipyard, and narrowly escapes being drowned at the end of the shortest maiden voyage in naval history, ending up back in Holland where he treats an obscure scholar called Descartes for a painful and embarrassing condition.


Format: Paperback
Print length: 495 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8465710473
Publication date:
Edition: 1st edition
Publisher: Bonanova Editions