[Review] The Last Roundhead by Jemahl Evans

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“They say I am the last of them alive; they say I am the last roundhead.” Ancestor to Colonel Blimp, Sir Blandford Candy is an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats. After an argument with his new neighbour Alexander Pope, he looks back on his life and the start of the Civil War.Young Blandford sets off for London following an illicit affair with his brother’s betrothed and joins the army to fight the King, taking part in the battles of Edgehill and Turnham Green.As he bounces from battlefield to bedroom, Blandford unmasks Cavalier plots, earns the enmity of the King’s agents and uncovers an attempt to steal thousands. All whilst dealing with murderous brothers, scheming sisters and puritan displeasure.Flashman meets the Three Musketeers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England at its nadir/through the Civil War

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Evans’ novel, The Last Roundhead, in a competition just before Christmas. So I began to read as soon as I received it, finishing it just a couple of days into 2019.

Wow. All I can say is, wow.

I must admit I was a little wary about reading a novel based in the English Civil War again, as the ones I have read have set the bar seriously high. And I was even more wary that this one is told from the perspective of a Parliamentarian. But, this novel blew all of my expectations out of the water and smashed that bar to pieces!

This book tells the story of Blandford Candy, a young soldier who fights for Parliament in the English Civil War. He’s young, impulsive and not at all like what you would expect a roundhead soldier to be. And it’s wonderful, making you love the scoundrel right from the outset, when an older Blandford begins to look back on his wartime shenanigans. The story itself is told mainly in first person – something you don’t often see anymore – and it really gets you hooked into Blandford’s story. You understand his feelings. You understand his mindset. And it’s written so well that the story flows wonderfully.

This novel is fast paced and full of exciting moments that make you want to just keep reading. It certainly is a page turner full of murderous plots, romance and scheming. Evans has done a remarkable job and let me tell you, I cannot WAIT for the next book!

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