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By Rose Tremain

Published by Hamish Hamilton

Robert Merivel abandons his medical studies to revel in gluttony, indolence and buffoonery at the Court of King Charles II. Finding favour with the King, he serves as ‘paper groom’ to the youngest royal mistress in exchange for an estate and knighthood. But by falling in love with her himself he violates the rules and is banished from Court. Merivel’s enforced purgatory leads to work in a Quaker Bedlam and a yet more painful fall from grace before he can achieve spiritual and social restoration.