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Friday, 9 May 2014

To Catch a Demon - Restoration 1660

This book is set after the Protectorate, on the return to England of King Charles II.  England has had a few civil wars, one of the most notable being the struggle for the throne between the Empress Maude, daughter of Henry I and his rightful heir, and King Stephen, her cousin, who grabbed the throne on Henry's death.  Of course, being the early twelfth century, nobody believed that a woman could rule, despite Maude (also known as Matilda) being one of the strongest women in English history.  After much bloodshed, the result was an agreement to make Maude's son, later Henry II and the first Plantaganet King, Stephen's heir.  Then there was the Wars of the Roses which is really too long and too complicated to go into here.
Our most famous civil war, however, was the one between King Charles I and basically his subjects.  He was an autocrat, who believed in the divine right of kings.  He believed that he was all powerful and he upset the people by dismissing parliament and hiring mercenaries to fight against his own people.  He lost his head, the only one of our monarchs to be officially executed, although a few were murdered.
His son fled to France with his followers and the country was ruled by Oliver Cromwell, a farmer from Huntingdon, whose strict Puritan ideas made England a very dreary place to live.  He decreed that people should wear dark, dismal colours, he made celebrating Christmas illegal, and he made adultery a capital offence - but only for women of course.
So the people were delighted when Charles returned to reclaim his throne.  Our story begins on his return and tells the story of Diana, the sixteen year old daughter of a loyal royalist.  They managed to survive quietly in the country until the day that Jasper Philbert and his roundhead followers discovered them.  He murdered her parents and  forced her to marry him.  After ten years of physical and sexual abuse at his hands, the King returns and our story begins here with her reunion with the man to whom she had been betrothed and her subsequent struggle to prove she is innocent of treason.

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