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The character of Merivel bursts out of the opening pages and I was immediately beguiled by his roller coaster account of his life and fortunes. Merivel may be treated as a fool by the King's court but he is not stupid. He is just inclined to follow his own devil may care instincts and as a result gets involved in all manner of scrapes. This book focuses on his relationship with King Charles II and the massive impact this has on his life. The best parts however are his interactions with his best but disapproving friend Pearce, and the ordinary but vividly colourful characters that light up this book.
There are some massively funny sections, for example his frustrations at not being able to paint his Russians or play a musical instrument and his hilarious and exasperated interchanges with the people who try to teach him. There are also some very touching elements and Merivel's words and actions show him on occasion as being a likeable, vulnerable and humane man. You must however not be disillusioned into thinking Merivel is in any way saintly.
Paul Daneman gives many theatrical flourishes to his reading and his fearless approach adds to the comedy and pathos. I have had a recent run of very dull books that have driven me to the point of bored despair but this has restored my faith. This story and presentation is a breath of fresh and extremely invigorating air.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I can't remember why I bought this - maybe it was a special offer. Anyway, I didn't know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised. The narration was excellent, and really made the protagonist come to life. I suspect I would not have liked it so much on the page.
I really enjoyed this and was sorry when it finished.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful