Astraea, the first volume of Jane Stevenson's trilogy of historical novels, was described byProspectas 'so intelligent and original, it establishes the author as a potential successor to Penelope Fitzgerald... Here is a writer worthy of the highest traditions of English fiction.'
The Pretender, the second volume of the trilogy, has as its protagonist Balthasar van Overmeer, the son of the secret marriage between Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I, and an exiled African prince. We see him first as a young medical student in Holland, then as a doctor in Middleburg, where he becomes involved with Aphra Behn, an English intelligence agent and later a playwright, in Restoration London and in the developing colonial society of Barbados. As he matures he is forced to come to terms with his peculiar upbringing and to explore his strange and powerful heritage, both black and white.
Once again, Jane Stevenson, 'a writer of formidable ability', has created 'one of those rare fictions in which intellect and emotion are given equal weight' (Sunday Telegraph).
Jane Stevenson is the author of a collection of novellas,Several Deceptions, and two highly praised novels,London BridgesandAstraea. She is Reader in English at the University of Aberdeen.