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.
©2012 Rose Tremain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
A difficult book to review. I was enthralled by the incredible tale of this very sad man. The narrator was amazing, the script brilliant but if a reader is not into history I would not recommend. However, if anything like me - go for it. It is memorable.
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.
This was simply joy to listen to. Reader is wonderful, book is great, possibly better than Restoration.
"Merivel, my top audiobook for 2012"
I loved this audio book superbly ready by Sean Barrett. I first encountered Merivel when I read Restoration by Rose Tremain, many years ago and it was an excellent introduction to historical fiction. It was good to find that Rose Tremain has written a sequel, although the books could be heard (or read) independently of each other.
Now in middle age and with a tendency towards melancholia, we learn how Merivel deals with his relationships - with his daughter, with his friend King Charles, with his loyal servants and even with a brown bear. His adventures take him takes him from his estate in Norfolk to the Court of King Louis in Versailles where he encounters disenchantment but also romance. However nothing can be straightforward with Merivel, as we learn! A medical man, there is also a fascinating and sometimes horrific insight into the treatments of the time.
Undoubtedly a first rate listen and one I will want to hear again and again.
"Thoughtful, moving and gently humorous"
I read Restoration which I greatly enjoyed and came across this sequel on Audible by chance. Charles II has always been a figure that has intrigued me and the way that the unlikely Merivel's life has somehow got intertwined with the monachs makes for a more interesting read than the usual type of historical novel. Far from being a typical choice for me, Merival A Man of his Time has nevertheless turned out to be one of the best audio books I have listened to. The way that Merivel gradually begins to perceive the unfairness of the world and the flaws in his own character is very well handled and the ending, although I had suspected something similar, was exceptional. Sean Barrett conjures up a totally believable Merivel and gives probably one of his finest performances. I listened to this absolutely whenever I could and feel rather bereft now that I have finished. First Class.
"A joy for fans of Restoration."
Having read both books and really loved them ,it was a joy to see that Merivel was in audio,this version was much better than the audio of Restoration,where the voice did not represent Merivel,s passion and joy for life,this current Merivel was much better,the love for the King and Robert,s daughter could be reflected in how the actor spoke,the shameful acts that he commited and was ashamed of ,was well done and the sadness and longing for the life and love he never really found was also very well put over.This was a very good audio of a cracking good story,and I recommend it ,but unless you read Restoration first,it will not make a lot of sense,but you will love both stories.
My favorite character is Will Gates,Merivel,s faithful servant,who has put up with so much for so long,Merivel,s wild parties,drunk behavior,self pity and eccentric habits,the manor,s decoration,outrageous clothing and dreadful flute playing and painting,all without complaint and with endless patience, when Will gets old ,Robert does not want to ask him to fetch anything as he fears the walk to the kitchen will be so slow,he could possibly die, during the journey,when Will dies he is put in a paupers grave and as Merivel is away from home,and when he hears about the death ,he cannot sleep until Gates is moved to a decent grave with a headstone,as he is loved so dearly by Merivel.
He speaks fluently and with expression,the voice reflected the joy,love and shame that Robert felt,the longing in the reading was very moving in parts,very easy to listen to and enjoy and flowed very naturally and was Merival,and you believed it.
The rise and fall of Merivel,physician,gentleman ,drunkard,and devil.
You do not have to be a history fan to enjoy this book,it has it all ,passion,death,gambling,love,loss,anger and total joy,and as Merivel is a Doctor some medical procedures,one was quite hard to read and listen to,major surgery with no pain relief ,which made me feel a bit peculiar,but it was how these times were.
"Not what I signed up for"
I was pleased to find this sequel, but it proved a disappointment. There was a sex scene about two thirds through the book which was just gratuitous, unnecessary and quite honestly, repulsive. . I was astonished it had been written by a woman. It seemed pure male fantasy of the crudest variety. Pass the mind bleach, please.
You have been warned.
The narration was, of course,by St. Sean Barrett, and was his usual hypnotic performance.
Don't know,never read the book
I love Sean Barrett, he is magical and in this book he is delicious!
Something perhaps with Merivel in the title..
This is the second book in the story of Merivel I will purchase the first one Restoration I think it is . And find out about the fabulous Mervel as a young man, so looking forward to this . I loved the flow of this book didn't want it to end..
"Not as good as Restoration"
I like Sean Barrett. His reading of the Grail Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell in particular is superb.
I enjoyed Merivel. It didn't give me much of a historical feel as Restoration did, perhaps it was a little exaggerated. The sub header - a man of his Times - is, I think supposed to indicate that the book is about Merivel's decline along with the crown. The author seems to have decided that a good way to express this was by making both Merivel and the king extremely lewd and though I am sure that people in those days were as rampant as they are today, the impression given just wasn't very believable.
"A quiet masterpiece."
I like Rose Tremain's books very much indeed, at least half a dozen of them are five star reads, but was never a fan of Restoration and a little dissappointed to see this appear.
BUT it knocked 'the wedge' into a cocked hat in my opinion. Brilliant. Merivel is King Charles the 2nd's fool and he is often ridiculous, but this account of his later life is never anything but elegant. It is also by turns very funny and quite sad.
What on earth will she write next? While I'm waiting I suppose I'd better go back and see if I just didn't get Restoration years ago.
"A great book"
I think I enjoyed this book more than the first! I felt I was revisiting an old friend and I was as pleased to hear how he had fared as if he was a real acquaintance. Rose Tremain creates such wonderful and utterly credible characters. The historical context is faultless. The plot moves along with pace and interest. I loved this book and would like to know how the author manages to evoke such affectionate feelings towards an invented character?
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