What if Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
was not a traitor but
...who was bipolar...?
BEYOND THE PALE
At Elizabeth’s court, heroes were dangerous.
Essex had to be erased.
In Julie Osburn’s BEYOND THE PALE, the notorious Earl of Essex, was not an ambitious traitor out to steal Elizabeth I’s crown but a national legend, an honourable knight who could conquer Spain but not his manic and melancholy mind, thus setting the stage for his tragic fall.
At ten, Essex loses his father just when he needs a father the most. At twenty, Essex is the charismatic favourite of ELIZABETH I. At thirty Essex is denounced as an over-ambitious upstart by his enemy – ROBERT CECIL. Essex’s mercurial reactions against Cecil’s rise to power as Secretary of State tears the government into two warring factions. Protests on the streets and behind the pulpits, against and for the crown, are eerily similar to extremist political and religious polarizations we are experiencing in 2020. Yet in 1601, Essex pays the ultimate price for his Queen and country. At thirty-five, he is beheaded – a hero forever branded as a traitor and fool.
BEYOND THE PALE sets the record straight.
'BEYOND THE PALE is a meticulously researched, comprehensive re-imagination of the life of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. In sharply observed episodes, Osburn traces the loves, rivalries, jealousies and ecstasies that fired Essex' tumultuous life of triumph and ignominious failure. Much as Hilary Mantel has achieved for Thomas Cromwell, Osburn's compelling novel is fundamentally the portrait of the inner life of a character who lives on in the national imaginary.’
–– Jean McNeil, Fire on the Mountain and Ice Diaries (Shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award and Journey Prize for Fiction)