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 travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and 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 enlightening book, Alan Ereira brings a fascinating hidden history to light, and reveals that Ogilby’s celebrated Britannia is far more than a harmless road atlas: it is, rather, filled with secrets designed to serve a conspiracy of kings and England’s undoing. The Nine Lives of John Ogilby is the story of a remarkable man, and of a covert journey which gave birth to the modern world.