Published: 17/02/2017 Historical novel

The Soldier, the Gaoler, the Spy and her Lover

The Soldier, the Gaoler, the Spy and her Lover

January 30th, 1649. England is not a country that wishes to execute its divinely appointed king. Yet Charles I finds himself shivering on a cold scaffold in Whitehall, an executioner by his side. The crowd is silent. The axe is raised. And with his head on the block, set a little lower than he wished, Charles wonders: how did this happen?

In this brilliantly atmospheric novel, Simon Parke explores one of the most gripping tales in English history by weaving together four coinciding stories in this divided nation.

We walk with the stubborn, deceitful and kindly King Charles… with Robert Hammond, the poor man who found himself the king’s gaoler… with Jane Whorwood, Charles’ remarkable mistress and super-spy, who was written out of history by embarrassed royalists. And also with the brilliant and depressed Oliver Cromwell, working through his own political and religious demons, while his wife Elizabeth, who he loved dearly, was a keen supporter of his relentless foe, the king.

These were divided times, comic times, changing times, desperate times when the convinced, the conniving and the confused ensured what all thought impossible: the killing of the king.