Having previously guided readers through the Medieval and Elizabethan eras, Ian Mortimer now welcomes intrepid travelers to the Age of Restoration. The tyrant Oliver Cromwell is dead, and with him went his grim police-state ‘republic’ and the armed doctrine of puritanism. Long live the King, the Church, and debauchery! The return of music, theaters, and lecherous kings isn’t the only thing to celebrate; England’s merchant ships are traveling the world and increasing the amount of interesting foods and items to buy by the year, and the razor’s edge clarity of science is now being honed. The country is being re-made by the year; in London’s case, literally, because the Great Fire destroyed much of its medieval core and warranted a partial redesign. This is a transitional age; more and more people are living in cities, enough that the countryside is developing appeal as a break from the city, and traveling purely for leisure through rural areas develops. This is still not an age modern travelers would be wholly at ease, in, however; religious opinions are dangerous to express if they differ too much from Anglican orthodoxy (Quakers and Catholics be warned!), gentlemen will duel at the drop of a hat, and severed heads on pikes are still civic decor. Here Mortimer revives the tour-guide delivery of the original guide to Medieval England, detailing the different kinds of lodging and foods to expect, points of interest, and how to avoid being arrested. As ever, I thoroughly enjoy this visit with Mortimer.
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