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The year is 1665. England is in the midst of the Restoration, and John Milton, a blind, politically and religiously marginalized writer associated with Oliver Cromwell’s failed attempt to form a republic, has not yet published Paradise Lost. When one of the worst plagues in history descends upon London, he and his much younger wife are forced to flee to the countryside.
There Milton is befriended by the local curate, Rev. Theodore Wesson, who knows nothing about Milton’s controversial past or the dangers of associating with him. Soon their fates become intertwined when the curate’s hopes for advancement are threatened by his relationship to the notorious traitor and “king-killer,” John Milton.
The situation tests Wesson’s loyalty–to the monarchy, to friendship, to a church career–while complicating his already blurry sense of God’s involvement in human affairs. For Milton, the cost is potentially even greater: the target of assassination attempts since the restoration of the monarchy five years earlier, he has real reason to fear for his life.
A riveting and briskly paced novel that transports the reader to a very particular place and time even as its themes resonate with our own time, Thom Satterlee’s God’s Liar will take its place next to works as varied as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Colm Toibin’s The Master.