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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars June 3, 2013

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh

jeppwhodefiedthestarsJepp, Who Defied the Stars is the tale of an 16th century teenager with dwarfism and the uncertain path his life takes.  Urged by nobleman Don Diego, Jepp agrees to leave his loving mother and Astraveld, the only home he’s known.  He is unwittingly captured and sold to the Infanta Isabella and taken to the Palace of Coudenberg in the Spanish Netherlands.  Here Jepp is subjected to the humiliating role of court jester.  Among his companions are several other dwarfs.  He quickly becomes enamored with the beautiful Lia.  Not resigned to such indignations, Jepp attempts escape several times.  He and Lia make one last attempt, only resulting in her untimely death, for which Jepp feels responsible.

He is eventually “sold” to Tycho Brach and travels to Uraniborg.  Here he is kept at his master’s feet and fed scraps like a dog under the table.  Curiosities abound at Brahe’s home, like the huge Elk that roams the halls and shares a stall with Jepp.  Soon Brahe’s daughter discovers Jepp is not all he appears.  He reads Latin and is the intellectual equivalent of any astronomer there and soon begins to assist the scientists.  Not one to settle down for too long, Jepp must travel back to his home and revisit ghosts from his past before he can truly embrace his future.

An engrossing and unique tale that asks the question is our fate determined or do we have free will and the ability to change what is written in the stars.