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Merivel: A Man of His Time

Merivel: A Man of His Time [Kindle Edition]

Rose Tremain
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 7.99
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Product Description


Richly marbled with intelligence, compassion and compelling characters, leavened with flourishes of lyricism and and attractive tolerance towards human frailties. --Angus Clarke

Book Description

***As heard on 'Book at Bedtime', BBC RADIO 4 ***

The major new historical novel from Orange Prize-winning Rose Tremain, set in Restoration England and starring the world's favourite courtier, Robert Merivel

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 638 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393079570
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (6 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008AX197C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Rose Tremain's novels have won many prizes including: the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence); the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country); the Sunday Express Book of the Year, the Angel Literary Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize (Restoration) and a Giles Cooper Award (for her radio play, Temporary Shelter). Her novel The Colour, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and selected for the Daily Mail Reading Club promotion. In June 2007 Rose was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait follow up to Restoration 5 Sep 2012
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Rose Tremain has made fans of her 1989 book "Restoration" wait for a long time before picking up the story of Sir Robert Merivel. Almost as much time has passed in Merivel's world with the book opening in 1683. Leaving a follow up so long can be fraught with danger. For those, like me, who loved "Restoration" at the time, the memory of its central character has grown in fondness over time while some of the detail has been inevitably lost to memory. Thankfully, this is one of those rare things in literature; a very good follow up.

The ideal preparation for this book is probably that you have read "Restoration" but forgotten some of the detail, as Tremain recaps events and Merivel's narration refers to events of the past and to his writing of the first book. This means that you don't strictly have to have read "Restoration" first, and it reveals some light spoilers to the plot if you read them out of order. Although while plot development is part of the joy of the books, the main joy is the characterization of Merivel himself.

Merivel, to the uninitiated, is a physician and courtier to King Charles II. A Falstaff-type character, he is self-depreciating and has an uncanny ability to attract and usually overcome disaster. His behaviour is often selfish and disreputable, but he has a warm heart beneath his rolls of corpulence and he's hard not to love.

What "Merivel" lacks in comparison with "Restoration" is the mirroring of personal events with political times, when Merivel's fortunes and favour with Charles are restored in just the same way as the King is restored to the throne of England. Instead we get the end of the King's reign and Merivel at a loss to find his purpose in live.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Welcome Return of a Lovable Scoundrel 2 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rose Tremain returns to historical fiction with her latest novel 'Merivel' and to a wonderful character she created for one of her previous novels: Sir Robert Merivel, whom we first met in Restoration; however, it is not essential to have read 'Restoration' to enjoy this latest book. Our hero (or anti-hero), Robert Merivel, is a scoundrel, but he is also a physician and courtier at King Charles II's court. In 'Restoration' we saw Merivel rise from relative obscurity to find favour with King Charles, followed by a fall from grace, and then of his restoration to favour. In this new story, as in the previous book, we see that Merivel is well aware of the fact that if he has prospered in life, it is because he possesses the enviable talent of being able to amuse the King of England.

In 'Merivel' our story begins in 1683; we are moving towards the end of King Charles' reign and Merivel is now a man in late middle age, wondering where the years have gone and what now to do with his life. Although Merivel can see the wisdom in leading a more sober existence in his later years, he is not yet ready to lead the quiet life and is still keen for adventure and escapades. Encouraged by his daughter, Margaret, and with the agreement of the king, Merivel heads off to France where he finds himself at Versailles and the splendour of the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Expecting to be marvelled by life at the French court, Merivel is disappointed at the sordidness behind the splendour, and he is dismayed by the gaggle of squabbling fortune hunters surrounding the king.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 A riveting read 10 Sep 2012
By SusieH
Merivel is a complex character. At times he demonstrates very questionable morals, at other times he shows admirable compassion and understanding, particularly towards his ageing servants, who have been with him through both good and bad times. He is devoted to his daughter, Margaret, and protects her by hiding from her the history of her parentage.

Merivel seems to be either very much in favour with the King or, after having displeased him greatly, very much out of favour. His fortunes vary accordingly

As a physician he shows his caring side. Some of the descriptions of the medical procedures of the day are a bit difficult to stomach, but it is clear that he does his best to minimize discomfort for his patients.

When Margaret is planning to go away for a few weeks with her closest friend, Merivel knows he will be lonely and melancholy, and plans his own diversions. He asks King Charles for a letter of introduction to the French King, Louis XIV, at Versailles. Merivel's journey to Versailles, and his time there, are not without incident. Some of the characters he meets there, also waiting to seek audience with Louis, make a lasting impression on Merivel, and one in particular lifts him from his melancholy.

When Merivel returns to England he does not return alone. He finds that Margaret has been taken very ill and he devotes his time to caring for her and using all his medical knowledge to try to save her life.

Despite his many shortcomings, I found myself becoming very fond of Merivel, and suffered with him when times were hard.

An interesting insight into social history, the mores of the times, the comparatively basic medical knowledge of the times, and so much more.

Although this stands alone, I now want to read Restoration to read about Merivel's earlier days.

An absorbing read - thoroughly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
Overall did not really work for me. Yet I could see the humour would appeal to some of my friends. Bit slow, bit contrived, bit predictable.
Published 6 days ago by Lawman
4.0 out of 5 stars Merivel: A Man of His Time
Tremain has captured the spirit of the age well - its energy, bawdiness and the early stages of empirical science. Read more
Published 11 days ago by MISS J..R.SHEAD
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Merivel is a lovable character and the story is really absorbing. By the end of the book I wanted to start Restoration all over again!
Published 1 month ago by Helen Fall
4.0 out of 5 stars Different
Different and held ones interest, portrayed human weakness, and everyday emotions. I couldn't wait to read the sequel, started on it right away.
Published 1 month ago by Roreverread
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
This book is a litany of death. Everyone dies, and the rest almost die. One is left with the feeling that everything is a waste of time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what I enjoyed this but I did
Read this and Restoration back to back and will now probably watch the film. She tells a good tale and it is well written if a little unsettling. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C Rix
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
The book depicts the 17th century very credibly. Well written and surpasses the earlier related work, 'Restoration'. I recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by jill richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
I bought this book after reading Restoration and, as I enjoyed that so much, I really wanted to read the sequel. It doesn't disappoint. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
As I had enjoyed Restoration so much it seemed the natural follow up.As with all Rose Tremain's work they never disappoint.
Published 2 months ago by G.S.Waldron
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
Merivel is pure genius. I can't remember when I have enjoyed a book more unless it was the first one. An absolute delight.
Published 2 months ago by Sally Lyons
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