The Dorset Chronicles is a new series set in Dorset but ranging across the whole country and into the world at large at a critical time in the development of the modern nation. The late Seventeenth century witnessed a huge amount of political and constitutional development, something it is interesting to reflect on as we go through the current constitutional upheaval surrounding Brexit and attempts to honour the referendum result. Three centuries ago, they undoubtedly had it an awful lot worse!
Brexit is a pale shadow of what they endured. And we can see, three hundred years later, what their upheaval led to but, of course, they could not predict the future and, consequently, lived with enormous uncertainty.
It led to a period of enormous growth as a nation but also intense conflict. That conflict is seen in rebellion, war and invasion. It is also seen in religious strife, a rapid divergence of income and wealth and huge change in every aspect of life.
Those that could cope with change, thrived. Those that could not, declined. And in the 1680s and 1690s, there was little or no provision for those that struggled to look after themselves.
Other than individual kindness and humanity which was, surprisingly, present in abundance.
The series started with A New Lease on Freedom but continues with the second book, It Takes a Rogue.
A New Lease on Freedom is a story set against a backdrop of the disastrous coup attempt by the Duke of Monmouth who mixed vanity with delusion to produce a lethal mixture for himself. It is a story about individual freedom in troubled times; how that freedom is affected by personal ambition, revenge and fear. But there are outcrops of love and friendship in this otherwise bleak environment.
Things could not be more different in It Takes a Rogue. Three years have passed and now the Prince of Orange is contemplating a similar invasion. But there is a hard reality to William of Orange, while James II, the incumbent, has wasted three years defying reality, living in a bubble.
And now the time of reckoning is upon him.
The premise of It Takes a Rogue is that it takes a rogue to know a rogue. There are sinister motivations and acts surrounding the central characters; indeed, some of the people the reader associates with are scoundrels of the first degree.
There are counter-balancing forces as William of Orange tries for the throne. These include love and friendship but also the concept of redemption.
And redemption betrayed.
Both books are out on Friday 12th April. It is a strange coincident that this is also, currently, the day we leave the EU.
And head off to adventures new where the destinations are unknown.
But the stories continue. One Good Turn is well underway and should be ready for release in the summer. This continues the combination of personal struggle with huge national conflict that made England what it is.
Over three hundred years ago.
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