Reviews

  • As fascinating as it is exquisitely written . . . the range of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering is impressive. More impressive still is the elegance with which Falk tells the tale

    Times Books of the Year
  • Stunning: both exquisitely written and so very clever. By following the life of one little-known monk, John of Westwyk, Falk opens up for us the sophisticated and utterly different ways in which people in the Middle Ages thought and makes us question our assumptions about the medieval past.

    Suzannah Lipscomb, BBC History Magazine Books of the Year
  • Turns our understanding of medieval science on its head ... Falk shows how scientific inquiries central to the Renaissance actually began generations earlier than we thought, and despite our perception of the church as the enemy of science, those intellectual pioneers were often monks

    The Telegraph Books of the Year
  • "Might it change minds?" is my criterion. The Light Ages might. Seb Falk's dazzling study of a late-medieval scientist is an uncontainably tentacular monograph, reaching from a windswept cell at Tynemouth, where John of Westwyck built an astrolabe, to penetrate unexplored recesses of the history and philosophy of science, and extending across Christendom into the cultures that surrounded and informed it. Falk excises errors about the Middle Ages without filleting their enchantment

    Felipe Fernández-Armesto, TLS Books of the Year
  • Riveting. . . a brilliant study of medieval astronomy and learning . . . I agree with Falk. We need to give more respect to the giants of the Middle Ages on whose shoulders we stand

    Spectator
  • A wonderful book, as at home bringing to life the obscure details of a Hertfordshire monk as it is explicating the infinite reaches of space and time. Required reading for anyone who thinks that the Middle Ages were a dark age

    Tom Holland, author of Dominion
  • Astronomy, a science in which medieval thinkers excelled, is a good vehicle to explain the arithmetic, map-making or medicine that went with it. If anyone can make it clear, it is Seb Falk ... his carefully constructed narrative and prose is as plain as a well-forged astrolabe. Five Stars

    Telegraph
  • The Light Ages is unambiguously and successfully an antidote to the cliché of the 'Dark Ages' as a millennium of stagnation and regression . . . Falk's approach is to explain the things we share with our medieval forebears and the things we differ on: to reveal how they saw the universe

    Literary Review
  • Fascinating . . . the Dark Ages were anything but dark; Falk's book is a lucid and eloquent reproof to anyone who says otherwise

    Prospect
  • Compulsive, brilliantly clear, and superbly well-written, The Light Ages is more than just a very good book on medieval science: it's a charismatic evocation of another world. Seb Falk uses the monk John of Westwyk to weld us into the medieval ways of imagining as well as thinking. And there are surprises galore for everyone, no matter how knowledgeable they may think they are. I can't recommend it highly enough

    Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England

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