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"Super skirmishing fodder - Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris" Topic

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jocknroll24 Sep 2022 1:38 a.m. PST

For ECW/ Restoration buffs, the skirmishing/role play scenarios are all in here for the taking:
Robert Harris's new novel about the manhunt for the Regicides Whalley and Goffe. A quick review of the book (no spoilers) here:


Darrell B D Day24 Sep 2022 1:55 a.m. PST

I read a review elsewhere that mentioned various historical inaccuracies and anachronisms but nevertheless rated it an excellent read. Wargamers, of course, are just the people to be miffed by anachronisms and inaccuracies 😀.

I'll be planning to read it all the same.


jocknroll24 Sep 2022 2:09 a.m. PST

would be interesting to know what those were. Writers of fiction can manipulate as they desire (often 'historians' do the same for political ends). If the details concerned characters and events that would be interesting but if it was about geography, climate, diet, travel, health etc I would be much more surprised as it felt right to me on those very human levels. Can you remember where you read the review? Thanks

Darrell B D Day24 Sep 2022 6:52 a.m. PST

Yes – it was in the Spectator. See if this link works. If not, I'll copy the relevant bits.



jocknroll24 Sep 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

Thanks for going to that trouble. The reviewer is trying to show more than anything the he is clever, no, cleverer than the author. Rhodedendrons, Black Dog, pencils and the terrain at Naseby…. pretty esoteric. Hitchings is obviously a depressive horticulturalist from Northamptonshire whose pen ran out a long time ago.
He liked the book but like most reviewers, had to be smart.

dbf167624 Sep 2022 6:20 p.m. PST

A quick google search reveals that the term "black dog" for depression was used by the Roman poet Horace, and Swiss Huguenots brought Rhododendrons to Britain in the 16th Century, although they were not particularly successful. Since Hitchings admits that pencils existed at the time and the geography of Naseby does not deal with time, none of these "anachronisms" are implausible.

jocknroll25 Sep 2022 1:37 a.m. PST

I refer to my previous comments but downgrade the assessment of cleverness. Maybe he should have done his research, the original charge levelled at Harris. Would The Spectator publish a review of his review?

KeepYourPowderDry25 Sep 2022 5:58 a.m. PST

Although the reviewer did get it wrong about Charles II and the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion. Whilst 'on paper' the Act 'wiped the slate clean', Charles held a massive grudge against anyone who had opposed his father (not just the regecides) and demonstrated his displeasure with vim and vigor. His treatment of the city of Coventry being just one of many examples of his vindictive nature.

(In case you are wondering: Coventry was one of England's great medieval cities Charles ordered the destruction of the city walls and ensured that the wool trade was moved elsewhere. Coventry went from rich trading city to backwater in a few short years.)

It's a novel, a work of fiction, albeit with a few roots in reality. As a novel it is readable and entertaining, as a history commentary it fails (but is never meant to be a history commentary).

I noticed #1 best seller emblazoned on the cover of a book that has only recently been released – how can that be? Interesting discussion on R4 Front Row about #1 best seller claims on books. They are all made up hyperbole.

Darrell B D Day25 Sep 2022 10:32 a.m. PST

It's a novel, a work of fiction, albeit with a few roots in reality. As a novel it is readable and entertaining, as a history commentary it fails (but is never meant to be a history commentary).



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