This is the second of two books that cover the period from 1637 to 1647; the first is "The King's Peace". The two should be regarded almost as a single (very long) book: only someone already expert on the history of the period would read this one without the first.
When this book opens, in November 1641, the country is not yet at war. The manoeuvres between King and Parliament are by this time open conflicts: in January the King's men attempt to seize the Parliamentary ringleaders by force, but are foiled; by July the descent into warfare has begun.
Much of the book is concerned with details of the campaigns from the autumn of 1642 through the end of 1645, though some military action did continue into 1646. As in the first book, Wedgwood takes the slightly unusual approach of sticking very closely to a linear narrative of the events, instead of providing an overview and filling in details. This technique worked excellently in covering the political intrigues in the first book, but is weaker here, where the ebbs and flows of a military campaign are sometimes best understood from a distance. She keeps it as interesting as she can, but the book improves again when the fighting is over and she relates the last year of Charles' freedom.
Charles was utterly intransigent over the points which he would have had to concede to save him. Wedgwood has little respect for his political or intellectual capabilities, but she fully recognizes his integrity, a quality which dooms him but makes him admirable despite his failings.
Wedgwood writes clearly and without too much ornamentation, though her style is not at all simplified. It is plain throughout that she loves her subject and knows all the characters intimately, and this enthusiasm and insight easily transmits itself to the reader.