Act of Oblivion, p. 422

Have been hugely enjoying this book, which is about, variously: 1) a chase; 2) the fledgling colonies of North America; 3) how to survive winter in the wilderness; 4) loyalty

Self finds the villain almost as compelling as his quarry: the last two known living regicides, who are passed on from one religious community to another in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and are able to elude the King’s men for twenty years.

She is relieved when the chief pursuer, Nayler, receives an appointment as the secretary to the Lord Chancellor Edward Hyde and suspends the chase, because he deserves better. At some point, Hyde falls out with Charles II’s mistress, Lady Castlemaine, and the King offers him a choice: exile or imprisonment in the Tower.

As Hyde is carried out of the meeting (he was an invalid; also, extremely corpulent):

The King’s chief mistress had laughed and pointed: “He cannot rule. He cannot even walk!”

“O madam, is it you?” responded Hyde. “Pray remember that if you live, you will also grow old.”

Act of Oblivion, p. 422

Self loves the scene immediately following:

A coach had been arranged to take Hyde along the Thames to Erith, where a ship was waiting. When Nayler came to see him off from Clarendon House, his master had looked so forlorn that on impulse at the last minute he had jumped into the seat opposite. Hyde had looked at him, nodded, and looked away, as if he had expected it.

“I am grateful, Mr. Nayler, but be warned — I cannot pay you.”

This is her third Robert Harris read, and by far her favorite.

Stay tuned.

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