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Now is the Time

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Recently added byOryphany, pluckedhighbrow, gtim108

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It is spring 1381 and England is in turmoil. Barely recovered from the plague the country is governed by Richard II, a youth lacking experience but with a belief in his God-given right to rule. In order to raise funds a tax is levied on every member of the populace, this 'Poll Tax' is a demand which does not give any concessions to the lowest members of society. In the county of Essex there is revolt brewing and Essex-man Jack Straw recruits a leader to draw together a revolt in Kent, Walter Tyler. A huge force of peasants marches on London, determined to meet the King and get concessions from him but, after rioting through the capital, the meeting with the King at Smithfield is not the solution that they hoped for.

This is a fictionalisation of the events in May 1381 known as the Peasants' Revolt. Bragg is an experienced novelist but also a passionate historian and these two talents meld beautifully in this book. Richard was described as 'coming of age' in the way that he dealt with the rebels, yet in later years his belief in his own power was a criticism. Bragg takes some liberties as novelists always have to do, expanding characters beyond what research can support, but this adds to the readability of the book. A superb and deeply satisfying read. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
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