A beautifully designed and decorously set reconstruction of a series of events in the last (1646-49) three years of the life of England's Charles I. There were ragged negotiations with the shifting fortunes of a Parliament divided and raided by Cromwell's men, an acceleration of anti-royalist animus, a chain of incarcerations, and the melancholy isolation of the King himself all leading to his execution. Letters and diaries tell the sad story and among the witnesses are two gentle men of humble station attracted by his somber dignity; an officer in Cromwell's forces; noble royalists, a self-styled marcher in the Hosts of the Lord, a French diplomat, a Puritan cleric, etc. The various recorders are in turn distraught, tense, driven or arrogant but no one is uninvolved by the events taking place. Throughout there is an original view of the impotence which marks and defines the victims of revolutions. Surprisingly there is still room for humor, and broad humor at that, particularly in the exultations of one Comet Joyce who makes fine use of the Good Book. The author's meld of fact and fiction and her period dialogue (she keeps a tight rein on the King's speeches which incline toward the grandiloquent) are beyond reproach. Special but rewarding.