The King’s Cavalier, by Mark Turnbull

Nasia Anson

The new novel in the English Civil Wars series.
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Mark Turnbull’s The King’s Cavalier is a well-written and excellently-researched historical story, detailing the real tale of King Charles I escape from Hampton Court and his captivity on the Isle of Wight. The story is primarily told through the author’s own fictional character, Captain Maxwell Walker – a veteran royalist cavalryman – who reluctantly becomes intertwined with the escape of the King and unwillingly becomes ensnared in a network of intrigue and conspiracies.

This book is ideal for those interested in the English Civil War, the events which led up to Charles I execution and the rivalry not only between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, but within the respective groups too. The King’s Cavalier provides an insight to all these relevant issues, subtly educating the reader about English society in the mid-17th century. This said, Turnbull successfully puts forward an entertaining, action-packed and – at times – comical story which is appropriate for all individuals, irrespective of their historical interests.

Additionally, the author commendably creates in-depth, detailed fictional characters – such as the main protagonist, Walker – whilst simultaneously gives historical figures a new lease of life through his writing. In this book, the reader can expect to see prominent political figures – including King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Rainborough, etc., – with an insight to their internal values and beliefs which had a heavy influence on their external actions. Other historical legends also appear throughout this story, including the 17th century English astrologer William Lilly – who claimed to have foretold the execution of Charles. Jane Whorhood likewise plays a vital role in The King’s Cavalier – a historic secret Royalist agent who was a close confidante of the King, helping to co-ordinate his escape attempts.

The book also has an array of fictional characters who reflect the turmoil that 17th century England was going through; like the rift that divided England, Walker also experiences an internal division of choosing between family and duty. Maria Wilkins, a Royalist, is another character split between their heart and their head, forced to half-heartedly entrust Walker with the responsibility of ensuring the escape of the King goes to plan. Turnbull does a marvellous job of bringing his fictional characters to life by intertwining their selves within the web of fear, distrust and loyalty that plagued English society during the civil war.

The King’s Cavalier is a gripping and transfixing historical novel; it has just the right balance of fact and fiction to provide a fantastic storyline which – from the turn of the first page – captivates the reader.

Mark Turnbull is the author of The King’s Cavalier, part of the Rebellion series of novels,