Fantasy Masterwork of the Week: Aegypt

There are some people — and I’m one of them — for whom life consists only of passing time between novels by John Crowley

Michael Chabon

So. How does one follow that?  Maybe the best way is to let the book speak for itself . . .


There is more than one history of the world. Before science defined the modern age, other powers, wondrous and magical, once governed the universe, their lore perfected within a lost capital of hieroglyphs, wizard-kings, and fabulous monuments.

In the 1970s, a historian named Pierce Moffett moves to the New England countryside to write a book about Aegypt, driven by an idea he dare not believe: that the physical laws of the universe once changed and may change again. Yet the notion is not his alone. Something waits at the locked estate of Fellowes Kraft, author of romances about Will Shakespeare and Giordano Bruno and Dr. John Dee, something for which Pierce and those near him have long sought without knowing it: a key, perhaps, to Aegypt . . .


This is the acclaimed first novel in John Crowley‘s Aegypt sequence. First published in 1987 as Aegypt, then revised and republished as The Solitudes in 2007, it is followed by Love and Sleep (1994), Daemonomania (2000) and Endless Things (2007).  Aegypt is available as a Fantasy Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook, and the subsequent three volumes are also available as SF Gateway eBooks.

Michael Chabon thinks John Crowley is extraordinary. So do many other people. What do you think?