Although his accomplishments were substantial--he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, plotted voyages to the New World--John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. Beyond the political sphere his intellectual pursuits ranged form the scientific to the occult. His mathematics anticipated Isaac Newton by nearly a century, while his map making and navigation were critical to exploration. He was also obsessed with Alchemy, Astrology and mysticism. His library was one of the finest in Europe, a vast compendium of thousands of volumes. Yet, despite his powerful position and prodigious intellect, Dee died in poverty and obscurity, reviled and pitied as a madman. Benjamin Woolley tells the story of the rise and fall of this man, who wielded great influence during the pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the new world of science and reason.