Why would you ask if I was a roundhead or a cavalier?
Most people today don’t ask others ‘Are you a roundhead or a cavalier’ but as I have said I am going to set my latest book in the Civil War, people will want to know which side I would have been on. My reasons for writing it are in a previous post.
Am I a roundhead or a cavalier?
I’m a believer in democracy, human rights and the rule of law, not arbitrary government, so my sympathies lie with parliament. I also think King Charles was a bad king for lots of reasons. At one stage (after the end of this book) he invited the kings of France and Spain to invade England to restore him to power. He even promised to make us all become Roman Catholics to secure their help.
So am I glad the roundheads won?
In a way. But the following decade showed they were not prepared for power. Nobody had developed a system of parliamentary government. The Republic of the 1650’s was not a great success. They had to learn that evolution works better than revolution.
In one sense you could say the moderates won in the end. Charles II was restored in 1660 only when he agreed to rule with and through parliament and to respect the independence of the judges. I think some people must have clung on to their middle-of-the-road beliefs all through the civil war years and the republic.
Am I a puritan as well as a roundhead?
No, but I see a lot in them to admire. I think they were right to try to reform the Church and to take more notice of the Bible than of the bishops. The image they have acquired of being narrow-minded and judgmental is a bit exaggerated. They were right to demand more honesty and social justice, but they probably were overreacting a bit to some of the self-indulgence of the other side. I think they failed to see the Church needed to evolve with society. The 1640’s in England couldn’t be the same as Palestine, or even Rome, in the First Century. There’s always a tension between the ideal and the realistic. It’s an issue for Christians – and others – today, just as it was then. But it’s one you can’t avoid.
Do I say things in the book about roundheads and cavaliers and/or today’s politics?
Yes, to some extent. However, it’s not a history textbook and it’s not a political treatise. It’s a murder mystery set in a historical adventure. I hope there are things in it to make readers think about certain issues, but above all, I hope you will enjoy the adventure and the mystery. I know I did.
This book isn’t finished yet, but you might like to read the two I have set in the 18th century: Highwaypersons, Debts and Duties and Highwaypersons II, The King’s Justice. There are some political points in them too, but they are primarily historical murder mysteries.