Mastodon The Writing Desk: Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Image of the King, by Julie Maxwell

5 June 2023

Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Image of the King, by Julie Maxwell

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

England, 1648. King Charles I is a prisoner on the Isle of Wight. He has lost the civil wars. He now stands to lose his head. Escape is imperative - but it seems increasingly impossible.

No one proves more enterprising than the king's spy-mistress Jane Whorwood. Yet no one poses more of a threat to his image as a family man.

The plot against Charles soon takes a new and elaborate turn. For the first time in history, a head of state will be impeached by his own subjects and put on trial for his life. But how can a king possibly be tried for treason?

John Milton watches as the coup d’etat unfolds. Betrayed by former allies, Milton is determined never to get involved in politics again.

So is it providence or a mere conspiracy of circumstances when his cousin John Bradshaw is appointed the King’s Judge?

Oliver Cromwell has decided on Bradshaw. But he has also decided on Milton. A writer is needed to reconcile the nation to regicide and reply to the royal memoir The Image of the King.

As the propaganda wars intensify toward their tragic climax, the monarch is not the only one in mortal danger. Belatedly Milton discovers just how far the royalists will go to defeat their opponents.

Praise for The Image of the King:

'An intricately organised, subtly ironic perspective on a tumultuous historical period' Craig Raine.

"What was really great about the book was the characters around Charles and the intriguing conspiracies to get his release. The plot twist at the end was completely unexpected. Brilliant stuff."  Five-Star Amazon Review 

"The Image of the King is a thrilling tale of the Civil Wars' battle for hearts and minds. Through the eyes of King Charles I and the failing eyesight of John Milton, we watch politics and propaganda slide out of control until lives and afterlives lie on the line. Impeccably researched and engagingly told, The Image of the King will entertain and educate in equal measure." Miranda Malins, author of The Rebel Daughter.

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About the Author 

Julie Maxwell was born in Southall in 1975 and took a First in English at Christ Church, Oxford. She received a Gibbs Prize and a Charles Oldham Shakespeare Award. Subsequently she gained a Distinction in the M.Phil. in Shakespeare studies, and was elected a Senior Scholar of Christ Church to work on her D.Phil. thesis about Renaissance drama. She also held British Academy/A.H.R.B. Studentships and taught English at Trinity College, Oxford. In 2003 she was elected the Weston Junior Research Fellow in English Literature at New College, Oxford, where she wrote 'You Can Live Forever', her first book. She also drafted a monograph about Ben Jonson and religion, which is nearing completion. She was offered a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Liverpool but instead defected to Cambridge as a Fellow and Lecturer in English at Lucy Cavendish College. She has now returned to Oxford. You can find Julie on Twitter @JMaxwellAuthor

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