Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Jepp, who defied the stars

To what degree do we control our destiny, or does our destiny control us?

That is a question that grapples many of the main characters in Jepp, who defied the stars, by Katherine Marsh.
The central character in this gripping novel is a dwarf named Jepp. The setting is sixteenth century Netherlands.

Jepp's mother runs an inn, and Jepp is much loved by those around him. However, Jepp has an enquiring and intelligent mind, and as a result of listening and conversing with travellers at the inn, Jepp is keen for adventure.
So when a stranger arrives at the inn and offers to take Jepp to a royal court, Jepp agrees to go.

Jepp's excitement soon turns to horror as he becomes imprisoned at court with several others. Their chief role is to provide entertainment for the court inhabitants and visitors.
For Jepp, this involves the habitual and degrading leaping out of a pie.
Jepp falls in love with Lia, and when she begs him to help her escape, he assists her.

Tragedy unfolds and Jepp is both punished and banished. With much trepidation and after a gruelling trip across land and sea in a cage, Jepp arrives at yet another court - that of the astronomer, Tycho Brahe.
It seems that this court will be every bit as unpleasant as the last, but gradually Jepp's situation improves.

Is it luck? Is it fate? Does Jepp have any control over his life? Jepp looks to the stars for answers.



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