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The King's Henchman: Henry Jermyn, Stuart Spymaster and Architect of the British Empire Hardcover – 29 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square Books Ltd; First edition (29 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908096306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908096302
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 881,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Brilliant.' --Gillian Tindall

'A visual feel for the age and a rare gift for conveying it.' --Blair Worden, Spectator

'A moving love story between a commoner and a royal, as well as a breath-takingly fresh window into the courts of Charles I and Charles II, and the foundation of London's West End.' --Fiona Mountain

About the Author

Anthony Adolph wrote the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry of Henry Jermyn and has studied him, and pieced together his life from primary sources, over the past 20 years. A genealogist educated at Durham University, he has written several books on genealogy and presented programs for the BBC and Channel 4. He is a distant relative of Oliver Cromwell and lives in Canterbury.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Parsons (Cardiff, UK) on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well-considered book, heavy on facts and generally persuasive. The author has a tendency to dramatic reconstruction that may irritate some, but this appears less as the book continues. The font is unusually large, for which my eyes were grateful. The focus on Jermyn's architectural development was especially interesting. I feel that more might have been made of the Royal family's connections - the names Henry and Henrietta are not unusual if the grandfather is Henri, the mother Henriette/Henrietta and the uncle Henry, and although Charles I was short, his father, mother and brother were all described as tall, making Charles II's height (remarkable for the era) a little less so.

Unfortunately, the editing is deplorably sloppy. The index is basic and not always accurate (e.g. the last entry for Mary, Princess of Orange should be 223-5, not 253-5) and the proofreading appears to have stopped at checking that every printed word was a real word. Words are repeated or omitted, and it is sometimes difficult to ascertain what the author meant; the nonsensical phrase "he was prompted to became" (sic) should probably be "he was promoted to become", for example. Grammar is inconsistent; one person is "thirty five-year old", while another is "twenty-five year-old".

Because of the poor presentation of this work, I have changed what would have been 5 stars to 4.
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By Gruber on 12 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I really am at a loss as to how an author can take the life of a truly interesting man, in a fascinating period of history, with major shifts in political and social power - and turn out a book like this. I realise that it is the work of 20+ years, but the output in no way matches the input!

So lacking is this book that I skim read the last 100 pages. (I literally could not face the pain - or, frankly, boredom - of reading every last word).

So what is wrong with it:

1) Guesswork - there will always be rumours about famous people and their spouses. I feel that AA really needed to show me the proof that Charles II was a Jermyn and not a Stuart. Pictures of the other royals - especially a decent painting of Charles I in facial detail - might have added a bit more to the argument. There are only 3 people who definitely knew the truth - Henrietta Maria, Jermyn and the Royal Confessor.

2) Repetition - how many times do we have to be told about Troy, Paris, et al? I lost count of how many times this was cited in the first 200 pages. Also the repetition (and embroidery) of descriptions of key players - Hyde comes immediately to mind as does Charles I.

3) Grammar, missing words, unnecessary words - this is partially down to proof reading (if we assume that any errors came in the publishing as opposed to the production of the manuscript). This is a very poor product to come through good proof reading - the publisher needs to get this sorted out.

4) Fiction, faction or history - I am still unsure which of these Anthony was going for. I neither need nor want flowery descriptions of the weather or the countryside and they add nothing to the historical facts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sian Plant on 16 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Henry Jermyn led an important and interesting life during a key period but the book does not do him justice. For example, there is great emphasis on his "romance" with Henrietta Maria without much examination of the evidence. Also frequent references to his role as spy master without analysis of what he achieved through this. I did not feel I knew him any better at the end than when I started.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lesley Wells on 7 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My partner and I are English Civil War re-enactors and I bought this book, as I knew my partner would find it interesting. He's currently part way through it and finding it fascinating.

Having received an email from the author, I then searched for the item on Amazon in order to get value for money. I'm not disappointed with the purchase, and my partner is delighted with the gift.

So, huge thanks to Anthony Adolph for writing the book and to Amazon for providing it at a very reasonable price!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By brian millar on 12 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this an excellent introduction into the Stuart courts of Charles I and Charles II. It is very readable, thoroughly researched and brim full of facts. It gives clear insights into the charActers of Henry Jermyn, Queen Henrietta Maria and the two kings as well as their relationships with some of the major figures of 17th century British and European history. I found the role and influence Jermyn had quite fascinating. There is some repetition in places but overall I would recommend it.
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By tant p on 21 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writer brings his subject Henry Jermyn to life and explains his actions in the context of revolution, exile and counter revolution. In order to keep the narrative interesting conjecture is often not sufficiently qualified compared to known facts. This of course makes the book more readable and as a non-professional historian i appreciated the authors efforts very much. I am still not absolutely certain how far Charles II went with his attempts to appease Catholic France this book implies that he went further than any other history I have read.
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