Simon Forman was one of the most extraordinary personalities of Elizabethan and Jacobean London.
Charismatic, volatile and ambitious, he was doctor to the giants of the theatre and his 'playbook' contains the first eye-witness accounts of Shakespeare's plays. Like most doctors he was also an astrologer, reading the stars for all and sundry.
Constantly on the fringes of great events and court intrigues, his name has been linked with Sir Walter Raleigh's mysterious group, 'the School of Night' and with the notorious Overbury poisoning case, in which the beautiful Countess of Essex was accused of murder.
Also uncovered is Forman's private world, that of a compulsive womaniser who kept a coded diary, never fully deciphered before, a record of promiscuity as colourful as the journals of Pepys and Boswell.