Quarrel with the King

  • by Adam Nicolson
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Spanning England's most turbulent and dramatic decades---from the 1520s to the 1640s---Quarrel with the King tells the story of four generations of one of the greatest families in English history, the Pembrokes, and follows their glamorous trajectory across 130 years of change, ambition, resistance, and war.As he tells their story, Adam Nicolson reveals how a struggle for dominance began as the English crown slowly grew in strength and power, which evoked questions of loyalty that would simmer for decades. Was government about agreement and respect or authority and compulsion? What status did traditional rights have in a changing world? Did a national emergency mean those rights could be ignored or overturned? These were the questions that, in 1642, would lead to a brutal civil war, the bloodiest conflict England has ever suffered, in which the Earl of Pembroke---a devout subject---had no choice but to rebel against a king he believed had betrayed him and his country.


What the Critics Say

"Clear and compelling popular history." (Kirkus)
"Supple and elegant.... A welcome treat." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An interesting account of the lives of the Herveys

This book is an interesting account of the lives of the Herberts, from their rise to the Earldom of Pembroke under Henry VIII until the eve of the English Civil War. Through the Herberts' marriages the book also covers the careers of many historical characters, such as Lady Jane Gray, Sir Philip and Mary Sydney. The context is also well documented through regular references to contemporary social conditions in the English countryside as well as the machinations at court. Simon Vance's excellent reading brings the book out of the realm of the historical texbook and makes it all the more interesting.
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- Parissa

Rather overblown narration for non-fiction

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would change the narrator.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Quarrel with the King?

The execution.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His tone was far too flowery. You would think he was reciting Shakespeare.

Did Quarrel with the King inspire you to do anything?

Read rather than listen to the book. Happily I own hard copy.

Any additional comments?

I really like some of Adam Nicholson's work but this version was seriously spoilt because the narrator appeared to be in love with the sound of his own voice.

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- Nell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-11-2008
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio