THE LAST ROYAL REBEL: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JAMES, DUKE OF MONMOUTH
480pp., 16 colour plates, 2017 reissue. Illegitimate son of Charles II, he emerged from a childhood in the backstreets of Rotterdam to command the ballrooms of Paris, the brothels of Covent Garden and the battlefields of Flanders. Such was his appeal that when the monarchy itself came under threat, the cry was for Monmouth to succeed Charles II as King. He inspired both delight and disgust, adulation and abhorrence and, in time, love and loyalty almost beyond fathoming.