A man of his time

By Rose Tremain



Published by Vintage

Shortlist 2012

Merivel, physician to King Charles II, looking to answer questions in his life, ventures to the French court at Versailles. Disillusioned by life at court until he meets the seductive Madame de Flamanville, he dares to dream of a different future. This is the second book in Rose Tremain's 'Merivel' saga.

Set against the backdrop of seventeenth century English and French courtly life, ‘Merivel: A Man of His Time’, is a journey through the early modern period, in the company of the King’s amiable physician, Merivel.

Merivel is seeking to answer questions about his life; is he a good father? Has he been fair and just to his household? Are his talents taken for granted by his current employer? In a quest to find the answers, and to alleviate the angst of a mid-life crisis, he sets off on an adventure to the French court.

However, the glitz and glamour of Versailles is only superficial and he rapidly discovers the squalid side of the palace. Falling into despair, Merivel is saved by a chance encounter with the enchanting and seductive Madame de Flamanille, a botanist from Switzerland. Can she be the answer he has been seeking? Dare he dream of a better future with her by his side?

Fate however, conspires against him and he is summoned back to England to attend to the King, where his skills and patience are put to the test.

This exuberant novel is full of cunningly contrived humour and roguish adventures, held together by the characterisation of the hero Merivel.

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