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Lucy Ward – Red Lion Books, Colchester

Red Lion Books, 125 High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1SZ, July 20, 2022 6:00 pm

Book tickets

Author Talk with Lucy Ward talking about The Empress & the English Doctor

Bookings on the day of any event need to be made via the bookshop and not through the website.

Author event includes hardback, signed copy of the book and a welcome drink.

The astonishing true story of how Catherine The Great joined forces with a Quaker doctor from Essex to spearhead a ground breaking public health campaign.

‘Sparkling history…with a fairytale atmosphere of sleigh rides, royal palaces and heroic risk-taking’ The Times’


A killer virus…an all-powerful Empress…an encounter cloaked in secrecy…the astonishing true story. Within living memory, smallpox was a dreaded disease. Over human history it has killed untold millions. Back in the eighteenth century, as epidemics swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation. But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination.

Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician  from Essex, Thomas Dimsdale, to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition.

This event will be held downstairs at Red Lion Books which is regrettably not accessible to wheelchair users.


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