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The Siege of Loyalty House by Jessie Childs
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The Siege of Loyalty House

A new history of the English Civil War
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Narrator Miranda Raison

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Length 9 hours 49 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

The Civil War was the most traumatic conflict in British history, pitting friends and family members against each other and tearing down the old order.

Award-winning historian Jessie Childs plunges the reader into the shock of the struggle through one of its most dramatic episodes: the siege of Basing House. To the parliamentarian Roundheads, the Hampshire mansion was a bastion of royalism, popery and excess. Its owner was both a Catholic and staunch supporter of Charles I. His motto Love Loyalty was etched into the windows. He refused all terms of surrender.

As royalist strongholds crumbled, Loyalty House, as it became known, stood firm.Over two years, the men, women and children inside were battered, bombarded, starved and gassed. Their resistance became legendary. Inigo Jones designed the fortifications and the women hurled bricks from the roof. But in October 1645, Oliver Cromwell rolled in the heavy guns and the defenders prepared for a last stand.

Drawing on exciting new sources, Childs uncovers the face of the war through a cast of unforgettable characters: the fanatical Puritan preacher who returns from Salem to take on the king; the plant-hunting apothecary who learns to kill as well as heal; the London merchant and colonist who clashes with Basing's aristocratic lord; and Cromwell himself who feels the hand of God on his sword. And we hear too the voices of dozens of ordinary men and women caught in the crossfire.

The Siege of Loyalty House is a thrilling tale of war and peace, terror and faith, friendship and betrayal - and of a world turned upside down.

© Jessie Childs 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Jessie Childs is the award-winning author of God's Traitors (PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History) and Henry VIII's Last Victim (Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography). She has written and reviewed for many papers, including the Sunday Times, Guardian and London Review of Books, and is an editorial adviser of History Today. Her TV contributions include the BAFTA-nominated Elizabeth I's Secret Agents (BBC 2 & PBS) and two BBC series on Charles I.

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Reviews

Jessie Childs is one of the finest historians working today; her illuminating, deeply researched, and beautifully written books are never anything short of superlative, and here she does it again. This is a vivid, thrilling story, rendered in delicious prose and brilliant with gems dug from the archives Compelling... Childs reveals brilliantly the world of the Civil War in the grain of sand that is Basing House. She captures the horror, the courage, the sheer humanity of those, both besiegers and besieged, who endured the long, desperate lulls punctuated by intense episodes of visceral violence Atmospheric, unflinching and...exquisitely witty This is war as it should be, passionate, brutal, bloody and chaotic, all described in luscious, evocative prose A gripping account of the agony at Basing... Characters step off the page... The prose sparkles... Childs's book conveys the raw emotion of events, especially the trauma of the siege itself... In her aim 'to recover the shock of that experience and to look upon the face of the war' Childs could be describing the trenches of Ypres or Bakhmut or the sieges of Leningrad or Mariupol Expand reviews