I read the sequel, Merivel, to this book first.
Robert Merivel is an orphaned medical student who successfully treats an ill spaniel belonging to Charles II; this leads to his preferment at court and eventually to his being installed as the master of a Norfolk country estate as the nominal but cuckolded husband of Charles' latest mistress. But he falls in love with the woman and incurs the king's wrath.
The story rambles from Fenland madhouse to Cheapside lodgings. There seems no coherence or purpose to the tale. As with the sequel, it is a picaresque. It works because it explores the character of a remarkable man, a frail mortal who can laugh at himself, an Everyman in whose flaws and sufferings we can recognise ourselves.
I have now also read The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain in which the eponymous hero grows up in post-war Switzerland, his mum embittered, his 'hero' father dead.
- I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57