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About the book
  • Published: 6 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448138586
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352


A Man of His Time

The major new novel from prize-winning bestseller Rose Tremain, set in Restoration England - shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

From the author of The Gustav Sonata

The wonderful new historical novel set in seventeenth-century England from Rose Tremain, author of Restoration (shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The Road Home (winner of the Orange Prize) and Trespass (a Richard & Judy pick). Merivel has been called ‘wonderfully entertaining’ (Guardian Books of the Year) and ‘an unadulterated delight’ (Independent) and has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The gaudy years of the Restoration are long gone and Robert Merivel, physician and courtier to King Charles II, sets off for the French court in search of a fresh start. But royal life at the Palace of Versailles – all glitter in front and squalor behind – leaves him in despair, until a chance encounter with the seductive Madame de Flamanville, allows him to dream of a different future.

But will that future ever be his? Summoned home urgently to attend to the ailing King, Merivel finds his loyalty and skill tested to their limits.

Over a million Rose Tremain books sold

‘A writer of exceptional talent ... Tremain is a writer who understands every emotion’ Independent I

‘There are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain’ Irish Times

‘Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect’ The Times

‘Rose Tremain is one of the very finest British novelists’ Salman Rushdie

‘Tremain is a writer of exemplary vision and particularity. The fictional world is rendered with extraordinary vividness’ Marcel Theroux, Guardian

  • Pub date: 6 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448138586
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the Author

Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain’s novels and short stories have been published in thirty countries and have won several awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Dylan Thomas Award (The Colonel's Daughter and Other Stories), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Sacred Country). Her most recent novel, The Gustav Sonata, was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. It won the National Jewish Book Award in the US, the South Bank Sky Arts Award in the UK and was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes.


Also by Rose Tremain

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Praise for Merivel

“Social, political and physical labyrinth”

Frances Osborne, Evening Standard

“Satisfying... agreeably sardonic”

Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

“One of the great imaginative creations in English literature”

Daily Telegraph

“An unadulterated delight”


“Rich and satisfying”

Lindsay Duguid, Sunday Times

“A tour de force of literary technique, a treasure house of diligent research and imaginative ingenuity”

Jane Shilling, Telegraph

“Wonderfully entertaining”

Michael Holroyd, Guardian, Books of the Year

“Her feeling for the spirit of the times is triumphant”

Charlotte Moore, Spectator

“A rich, glowing portrait”

Daisy Hay, Observer

“Her characters laugh, cry, plot and flounder so convincingly that they take up residence in your head and refuse to go away”

Mary Crockett, Scotland on Sunday

“This book is richly marbled with intelligence, compassion and compelling characters, leavened with flourishes of lyricism and an attractive tolerance towards human frailties”

Angus Clarke, The Times

“What ultimately makes the book such a joy is simply being in Merivel’s company. His narration is by turns rueful, comic, despairing and joyful; but it’s always bursting with life, always good-hearted - and always entirely loveable”

James Walton, Daily Mail

“A delight”

Lucy Beresford, Literary Review

“At times witty and enchanting, on other occasions full of doubt and self-loathing, Merivel remains a stunning achievement. He is Everyman and speaks to us all”

Virginia Blackburn, Sunday Express

“Exuberance is a very hard thing to sustain in a novel… However, Tremain brings it off brilliantly. As one might expect, this is a very funny novel, full of picaresque adventure, hapless accidents and ingeniously wrought slapstick. However, it is also a very moving and beautiful novel. There are passages here which I found myself reading over and over again simply in order to savour them. Merivel: A Man of His Time may have been a long time coming, but it’s been well worth the wait”

John Preston, Mail on Sunday

“Merivel is excellent company. Writing with a mimic’s ear for conversation, whimsical one moment, grave the next, Tremain has an underlying preoccupation here: the last third of live, love and loss, loneliness and vanity”

Maggie Fergusson, Intelligent Life

“Tremain writes beautifully about Reniassance England but it’s the glittering paradoxes of Merivel’s character that here leap fully formed from the page”

Claire Allfree, Metro

“Tremain’s novel experiments continually with light and shade – she expertly paints a picture with three dimensions and real feeling”

Lesley McDowall, Scotsman

“Merivel offers a rich and satisfying sequel to the bright beginning of Restoration”

Lindsay Duguid, Sunday Times

“More interesting than all the period decoration is the character of Merivel, a character whom the author has such deep knowledge of. Tremain’s fusion of an engrossing character and the minutiae of another time is a marvel”

Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph

“Tremain's control of her character and her reflective but often dramatic unfolding of events are impressive acts of authorial ventriloquism, in which she gives a nod to the great diarists of that era but carries off her own man's story with wit, grace and originality. There is only to add that, despite the linear storytelling imposed on a journal, she not only effortlessly sustains momentum and mood, but brings the novel to as near a perfect ending as one could wish”

Rosemary Goring, Herald

“Tremain is particularly good at exploring the nuances of life for the hapless Merivel so that reader empathises with his sense of loneliness and despair. As well as exploring the sensitive side of Merivel’s character we share his intimate thoughts which are often very funny. A beautiful book”

We Love This Book

“A delightful portrait of an aging man at the mercy of his own foibles and frustrations”

Marie Claire

“Sequels rarely live up to their predecessors but this one comes close”

Lianne Kolirin, Daily Express

“A glorious book of heart-warming philosophy and heart-rending sadness”

Sainsbury’s Magazine

“An excellent novel...thrilling reading...incredibly entertaining”


“Surely one of the most versatile novelists writing today”

Daily Express

“Vivid, original and always engaging”

The Times

“Rose Tremain writes comedy that can break your heart”

Literary Review

“Steps inside the mind of Sir Robert Merivel”

Sunday Business Post

“For a second time this is one to cherish”

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

“A Pepysian romp of the first order”

Independent Radar

“Continues in the same superior vein as Restoration… The fusion of such an engrossing character, and the minutiae of another time, remains a marvel”

Daily Telegraph

“In this evocative and beautifully drawn novel of family and loyalty in the face of an uncertain future Tremain continues the story of a wonderfully unique character”

Hannah Britt, Daily Express

“Hugely enjoyable”

Reader's Digest

“Merivel’s hapless charm remains intact in this tour de force of literary technique”

Sunday Telegraph (Seven)

“A sequel that looks back to the earlier novel without ever quite recapturing its spirit is the perfect form in which to evoke that feeling of having to carry on, and of trying to make yourself have fun even with it eventually begins to hurt”

Colin Burrow, Guardian

“A marvelllously rollicking good read, and it is such a pleasure to meet Robert Merivel again. Rose Tremain brings the character to life in a way that makes you want to find out even more about the period. Enormously skilled and deft”

Good Book Guide

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