Merivel, A Man of His Time

  • by Rose Tremain
  • Narrated by Sean Barrett
  • 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Restoration is over and Robert Merivel, renowned physician and courtier to Charles II, now faces the anxieties of middle age. Questions crowd his mind: has he been a good father? Is he a fair master? Is he the King's friend or the King's slave? In search of answers, Merivel sets off for the French court. But Versailles leaves him in despair, until a chance encounter with a seductive Swiss botanist allows him to dream of an honourable future. But back home, his loyalty and medical skill are about to be tested to the limit, while the captive bear he has brought back from France begins to cause havoc....
With a cascade of lace at his neck and a laugh that can burst out of him in the midst of torment, Merivel is soulful, outrageous and achingly sad. His unmistakable, self-mocking voice speaks directly to us down the centuries. Get ready to laugh, prepare to weep - Robert Merivel is back in Rose Tremain's magical sequel to Restoration.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Wonderful Sequel

Rose Tremaine's 1989 novel, Restoration, was such a feast for the reader, so funny, so well-researched, so humane and so moving, that I doubted whether she could possibly succeed with a sequel, especially more than twenty years later. In fact, she pulls it off wonderfully. Though still liberally peppered with sex and low comedy, this is a more sombre tale. Merivel, King Charles and the other characters who careered through the pages of the first book, are fifteen years older. Old age and sickness are beginning to take their toll. The whole mood of the country has changed and disillusion with the monarch has set in. Merivel now bears the responsibility for the welfare of his teenage daughter, Margaret. Despite this, he is still a man inclined to pleasure, flawed but likeable, weak but disarmingly honest. It is this weakness that is the wellspring of the plot. When his daughter is given a place at court and Merivel finds himself alone in his big house, he decides to to set off for Versailles in search of a purpose and a position with Louis XIV. Instead he becomes enamoured of a captive bear and involved with the wife of a member of the Swiss Guard. What makes Tremaine a really first-class writer is the depth of her characterisation and the honesty of her writing. She is not afraid to tackle any subject. She goes wherever human beings go. There is a remarkable scene in a stagecoach in which a woman exposes herself to a group of male passengers that is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. I can't imagine anyone else writing it with such ease and such obvious relish. I enjoyed this book enormously. It made me feel glad to be alive and this recording was perfectly pitched.
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- Brian Keaney

Absorbing

I'm familiar with the narrator from Scandinavian crime fiction audiobooks, so it took me a short while to adjust, but once I did, Sean Barrett became utterly convincing as Merivel, and the many other characters, and this wonderful novel has fixed him in my memory like an old friend. Merivel is very human, warts and all, and he felt very real to me, and so did the period he inhabits thanks to the wonderful quality of the writing. I got through this in 3 sittings and didn't want it to end. Beautifully written and absorbing from start to end.
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- Caroline B

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-09-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios