LILLIBULLERO by Robert Neill


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In The Golden Days (1973) that intelligent, cultivated gentleman, Hal Burnaby, moved warily around the turmoil endemic to the reign of Charles II; here Hal's son Nick, a young barrister, witnesses the last reigning days of the unpleasant James II. Nick's main activity seems to be collecting and transmitting information while the King feints, thrusts and dodges on behalf of his Catholic persuasion. (The author does not delve too deeply into the congruence of religion and divine right politics.) Bulletins arrive at taverns, homes, courts, and churches showing the King's latest manipulations by means of the Test Act repeal, the alternating persecution and toleration of dissenters, the imprisonment of bishops, etc. The birth of a Prince (or was one ""produced"" in a warming pan?) brings the matter of papist succession to a head and with the odd marching song, ""Lillibullero,"" the era of William of Orange and Protestantism is ushered in. Hitherto loyal, the Burnabys come around to the view that Orange will prevent civil war. A solemn, talky novel, underplayed to immobility at points--but a worthy portrait of how lesser people survive chaotic times.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1976
Publisher: St. Martin's