One of our Books of the Year 2015.
‘Now is the Time’ is a fascinating, substantial, yet surprisingly contained novel given the subject matter. Detailing the peoples rebellion of 1381, Melvyn Bragg imagines this time and breathes life into the foundations and advance of the rising. With an unpopular poll tax, corruption rife and the plague decimating swathes of the country, the uprising still surprises the court of the King. Bragg focuses on the alliances of the main characters, 14 year old Richard II and his mother, the priest John Ball and former soldier Walter Tyler. Find yourself carried along at the front of the rebellion where reason and control is somehow maintained, while the rioting rolling mass of people to the rear, almost become a backdrop rather than being the heart of the story. Personally, I found the relationship between Richard and his mother the most fully realised and therefore intriguing and compelling. It feels as you read, as though this could have been a truth, even the truth… as though you are reading history in the making. ~ Liz Robinson
October 2015 Book of the Month.
In this gripping novel, Melvyn Bragg brings an extraordinary episode in English history to fresh, urgent life. At the end of May 1381, the fourteen-year-old King of England had reason to be fearful: the plague had returned, the royal coffers were empty and a draconian poll tax was being widely evaded. Yet Richard, bolstered by his powerful, admired mother, felt secure in his God-given right to reign. Within two weeks, the unthinkable happened: a vast force of common people invaded London, led by a former soldier, Walter Tyler, and the radical preacher John Ball, demanding freedom, equality and the complete uprooting of the Church and state. They believed they were rescuing the King from his corrupt ministers, and that England had to be saved. And for three intense, violent days, it looked as if they would sweep all before them.
'Melvyn Bragg is slowly cementing his place among the aristocrats of English fiction' -- Dave Robson Sunday Telegraph
'Quite simply one of the best writers we have' Sunday Telegraph
Praise for GRACE AND MARY: - 'A beautiful book, elegant, restrained and full of nuanced meditations on the nature of identity' -- Julia Molony Independent on Sunday
'Bragg's detailed evocation of the Wigton of his youth, the people that lived there, the beauty of the Cumbrian scenery, the lively sense of the region's long and varied history, is delightful. It's a novel that deserves to be read slowly, the details cherished.' -- Allan Massie Scotsman
'The novel's multiple narratives are skilfully teased out from John's attempts to prolong meaningful life for his mother by stimulating her failing memory ... For each generation, Bragg suggests, a key component of the quest is coming to terms with the past - a feat that his quietly intense novel pulls off with joy, sorrow and precision.' -- David Grylls The Sunday Times
Publication date: 08/10/2015
Publisher: Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
|Publication date:||8th October 2015|
|Publisher:||Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,|
Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James ...More About Melvyn Bragg