The Siege of Loyalty House
‘Extraordinary, thrilling, immersive… at times almost Tolstoyan in its emotional intelligence and literary power’ Simon Schama
It was a time of climate change and colonialism, puritans and populism, witch hunts and war.
A greater proportion of the British population died in the civil wars of the seventeenth century than in the world wars of the twentieth. Jessie Childs recovers the shock of this conflict by plunging us into one of its most extraordinary episodes: the siege of Basing House. To the parliamentarians, the royalist stronghold was the devil’s seat. Its defenders called it Loyalty House.
We follow artists, apothecaries, merchants and their families from the revolutionary streets of London to the Marquess of Winchester’s mist-shrouded mansion. Over two years, they are battered, bombarded, starved and gassed. From within they face smallpox, spies and mutiny. Their resistance becomes legendary, but in October 1645, Oliver Cromwell rolls in the heavy guns and they prepare for a last stand.
Drawing on unpublished manuscripts and the voices of dozens of men, women and children caught in the crossfire, Childs weaves a thrilling tale of war and peace, terror and faith, savagery and civilisation.
The Siege of Loyalty House is an immersive and electrifying account of a defining episode in a war that would turn Britain – and the world – upside down.
‘Brilliant. Original. Gripping.’ – Antonia Fraser
Extraordinary: meticulously researched, beautifully written, and heartbreakingly relevant. I urge you to read it -- Helen Castor Beautifully written and gripping from first page to last. A sparkling book by one of the UK's finest historians -- Peter Frankopan She is a gifted narrative historian, eloquent, graceful and witty; the stories she tells are the ones we all should know -- Hilary Mantel Brilliant. Original. Gripping. -- Antonia Fraser In this stunning feat of historical reconstruction, Jessie Childs brings England's brutal civil conflict to life, illuminating the human experience, and human cost, of this devastating war. A work of deep scholarship, The Siege of Loyalty House is gripping, moving, unputdownable -- Thomas Penn Jessie Childs is one of the finest historians working today; her illuminating, deeply researched, and beautifully written books are never anything short of superlative, and here she does it again. This is a vivid, thrilling story, rendered in delicious prose and brilliant with gems dug from the archives -- Suzannah Lipscomb Perhaps just because the history is so painful, and to some almost incomprehensible, the Civil War has never really registered in British history as powerfully as it should. That will change with Jessie Childs' extraordinary Siege of Loyalty House: a thrilling, immersive read, especially searing in our own tormented and besieged times. Her beautiful writing drops the reader deep in the war, sees it through a cast of extraordinary characters from both sides of the terrible conflict, but most of all, shines with a compassionate understanding of human courage, folly, obstinacy and frailty, at times almost Tolstoyan in its emotional intelligence and literary power -- Simon Schama Extraordinary. Exhaustively researched and beautifully (and wittily) written, a thrilling and immersive tale that offers the reader a rare window into the terrifying events of the English Civil War when religion and ambition divided families, friends and neighbours. One of the finest books I've read for years, a stunning achievement -- Saul David A spectacular work of scholarship, this is epic, vital history, sweeping from the great trends and ideas of the time to the individual details of vividly lived lives. This brilliant book takes you into the heart of the Civil War, the brutal struggle for the sympathies of a country, the men who fought, women who tried to survive; this is blood, desire and struggle on the page, taking you deep into the seventeenth century world; you can feel its beating heart -- Kate Williams
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?