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.
Books by Tremain reviewed in this blog include:
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57