Sunday, 26 August 2012


My friend Mike Walsh, along with his writing partner, Don Jordan has just brought out a brilliant new history of the execution of Charles First and its consequences for the Regicides – those responsible for his death. It’s called The King’s Revenge and it’s a page turner simply because, as the obvious result of thorough and painstaking research, they transport you back to these events in such a close up, detailed yet lightly written way - it brings them alive.
I have not had such a feeling of the day-to-day reality of a nearly forgotten period since reading a book a few years ago about the murder of Christopher Marlow, called ‘The Rekoning’ - which took you back to the late Tudor/Early Stuart period in the same way that Mike and Don’s book returns you to the middle of the catastrophic reign of the Stuarts.
I call it catastrophic in the sense that if the Stuart’s had achieved the secret ambition, common to them all from Mary onwards,  to turn the United Kingdom back to a Catholic Kingdom, there would have been no Industrial Revolution and so no Great Britain – and I say this from a Highland Scottish background whose ancestors regularly and faithfully  turned out for this lost Stuart cause, their obsessive attempts to restore themselves to the British throne (one, Alexander Robertson showed up SIX times, the first when he was sixteen and the last when he was so old, over eighty, he had to be tied to his horse).
The thing about the late Stuarts (from Mary onwards) was that they had no real friends – or rather wanted no real friends in the sense that no one was safe in the furtherance* of their ambitions. Even Charles the Second, the Good Stuart, would throw his friends and his integrity to the wall when this obsessive ambition demanded it - and their secret objective throughout this period, their Holy Grail, if you like, was the creation of a standing army to impose their secret Catholic ambitions on Britain; a bit difficult to justify on an island. A standing navy maybe but then navies weren't much good to them, they can’t sail up the High Street to murder the citizens – but anyway, getting back to The Kings Revenge, if you’re at all interested in history or would like an enthralling and personal story of relentless pursuit and revenge, this is the book for you.

Sorry about the use of ‘furtherance’ – won’t happen again.

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