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White King

Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History, British
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Winner of the HWA Crown for Best Work of Historical Non-Fiction 2018
Times Book of the Year 2018

Less than 40 years after the golden age of Elizabeth I, England was at war with itself. The bloody, devastating civil wars set family against family, friend against friend. At the head of this disintegrating kingdom was Charles I. His rule would change the face of the monarchy for ever. 

Charles I’s reign is one of the most dramatic in history, yet Charles the man remains elusive. Too often he is recalled as weak and stupid, his wife, Henrietta Maria, as spoilt and silly: the cause of his ruin. In this portrait - informed by newly disclosed manuscripts, including letters between the king and his queen - Leanda de Lisle uncovers a Charles I who was principled and brave but also fatally blinkered. He is revealed as a complex man who pays the price for bringing radical change; Henrietta Maria as a warrior queen and political player as impressive as any Tudor. Here too are the cousins who befriended and betrayed them: the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineered the king’s fall; and the magnetic ‘last Boleyn girl’, Lucy Carlisle.

This is a tragic story for our times, of populist politicians and religious war, of a new media and the reshaping of nations, in which women vied with men for power. For Charles it ended on the scaffold. Condemned as a traitor and murderer, he was also heralded as a martyr: his reign destined to sow the seeds of democracy across Britain and the New World.

©2019 Leanda de Lisle (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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Excellent book- terrible narration

Leanda de Lisle’s book won awards when it was released a couple of years ago, with good reason. The book is a detailed and well researched biography of a King who is remembered, rather simplistically, for causing the English Civil War. The book explores the rich and complex build up to the war, explaining the rising political and religious tensions that date back to the reformation of the church in Henry the Eighth’s time. It was such a shame then, that the narrator read this exciting and dynamic book like he was reciting a primary school reading book to his teacher- wooden, uninspired and lacking all intonation. I ploughed through the audiobook because the book itself is good, but at times I found it incredibly difficult to stay focussed. Like I say, great book, terrible narration.