The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood
By Robert Hutchinson
One morning in May 1671, Colonel Thomas Blood daringly attempted to seize the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Astonishingly, he managed to escape with St Edward's Crown and the Coronation Regalia before being apprehended. Fervently and religiously nonconformist, Blood had been involved in many plots to assassinate King Charles II and overthrow the Stuart government. He had also participated in an attempted coup d'état in Ireland and was publicly labelled the 'Father of all Treasons'. And yet he was not instantly executed for treason. Instead, the king granted him a generous income from lands in Ireland and he became a familiar strutting figure in the glittering state apartments of the royal court.Bestselling historian Robert Hutchinson tells the gripping tale of one of the most enigmatic and alluring figures in the history of Britain. Blood was a hunted man across the kingdom, and Hutchinson explores the dangerous life of a double agent during the Restoration. While serving as the king's personal spy, Blood was supporting those who conspired to murder him. In an age when gossip and intrigue ruled the coffee houses, he also hired himself out as a freelance agent for those wishing to further their ambitions in the cockpit of late seventeenth-century politics.The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood is the compelling story of a man bent on ambiguous political and personal motivation, as well as an extraordinary account of the court of Charles II and the perils and conspiracies that constantly surrounded the 'Merry Monarch'.
The Age of Shakespeare
By Frank Kermode
'The greatest literary scholar of his generation' (Independent) explains how the history of the Elizabethan era is the backdrop to William Shakespeare and his plays.Shakespeare made his unique contribution to British and world culture in the midst of Elizabeth's great reign. Here, the circumstances of each play's composition are acutely described, and set within a masterful portrait of Shakespeare's England - its early capitalism, its court, its bursting population, and its epidemics, as well as its arts - including, of course, its theatre. An important, lasting, and concise companion to Shakespeare's time.