cover image The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History

The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History

Don Jordan and Michael Walsh. Pegasus, $27.95 (408p) ISBN 978-1-68177-168-7

Jordan and Walsh follow The King’s Bed with a further examination of the Merry Monarch’s English court, this time focusing on Charles II’s mission to find the parties responsible for the execution of Charles I. Charles II reveled in his court, which teemed with beautiful women and other tempting diversions, but the newly restored king also diligently hunted and brutally punished dozens of men who played roles in executing his father and temporarily banishing the monarchy. The authors see Charles as primarily motivated by pleasure and punishment, with little nuance in between; this gives their book an emphasis on the pre- and post-restoration lives of the regicides rather than the king. They admiringly assert that the regicides’ contributions to free health care, legal rights, and political reforms outlasted their failed experiment, which was marred by repressive Puritanism and post-Commonwealth chaos. As in their previous work, Jordan and Walsh showcase their wit throughout a clear disentangling of alliances and betrayals. The book’s strength is humanizing this diverse group of hunted men, and Jordan and Walsh give readers good reason to revisit the infamous and implacable revolutionaries who murdered a monarch and later lost everything. [em]Agency: Charlie Viney Agency. (Aug.) [/em]