Jenny Uglow’s books include prize-winning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth and Sarah Losh. The Lunar Men, published in 2002, was described by Richard Holmes as ‘an extraordinarily gripping account’, while Nature’s Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick, won the National Arts Writers Award, and A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her most recent book is In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815. She lives in Canterbury.
A Gambling Man (Faber and Faber)
Charles II was thirty when he crossed the Channel in May, 1660. His Restoration was greeted with maypoles and bonfires, like spring after long years of Cromwell’s rule. But there was no going back, no way he could ‘restore’ the old and so began a decade of experiment, from the rise of science and credit to the shocking licence of the Court and the failed attempts at toleration of different beliefs. A Gambling Man is a portrait of Charles II, exploring his elusive nature through the lens of these ten vital years – and a portrait of a vibrant, violent, pulsing world, in which the risks the king took forged the fate of the nation, on the brink of the modern world.