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James II King in Exile


James II was Britain’s last Catholic king. The spectacular collapse of his regime in 1688, and the seizure of his throne by his nephew, William of Orange, are the best-known events of his reign. But what of his life after this? What became of him during his final exile?

King in Exile is a ground-breaking study focuses on this, hitherto, neglected period of his life: the twelve years he spent attempting to recover his crown; through war, diplomacy, assassination and subterfuge. 

This is the story of the genesis of Jacobitism; of the devotion of the fallen king’s followers, who shed their blood for him at the battle of the Boyne and the massacre at Glencoe; gave up estates and riches to follow him to France; and immortalised his name in art works, print, and song. 

Yet, this first ‘King Over the Water’ was far more than a figurehead. A grim, inflexible warlord, and a maladroit politician; he was also a man of undeniable principle, which he pursued regardless of the cost, either to himself or to his subjects. He was an author of considerable talent; and a monarch capable of successive re-inventions.

Denied his earthly kingdoms; he finally settled upon attaining a heavenly crown, and was venerated by the Jacobites as a Saint. 

This powerful, evocative and original book, will appeal to anyone interested in Stuart history, politics, culture and military studies.

‘This is an excellent and thoroughly researched work on little known aspect of a period that greatly affected Ireland. Indeed, this should be a standard work for anyone who wants to understand the period which led to the vicious Penal Laws and the myths of the Boyne ... all of which still has resonance for modern Ireland. It is essential reading for the period’.

Peter Berresford Ellis, The Irish Post


‘John Callow tells this melancholy tale with scholarly fairness and psychological insight’

Derek Wilson, BBC History Magazine



‘... this monumental work ... Meticulously researched and painstaking in the quest for colourful detail, the reader is caught up in the writer's passion for the subject while being swept along by a narrative history that enjoys all the characteristics of a good novel’.

Geoff Bottoms, The Morning Star 


‘John Callow's new book ... offers not only a subtly rounded portrait of the exiled king, but also a judiciously balanced account of the prospects and failures of the broader Jacobite causes. It ranges widely, from court etiquette and the arrangements for the royal hunt to international diplomacy and military strategy, including a gripping account of James's military campaigns against William in 1689 and 1690 ... 

... Impressively researched and stylishly written, this completion of Callow's two volume study of the ill-starred king provides us with the most perceptive and detailed biography we have, not only of James II, but of any of the Stuart monarchs’.

Professor John Adamson, The Sunday Telegraph


‘The book is eclectic in the best possible way. Each chapter deals with a different appearance of the witch or witches, some well-known and others more obscure. The response to each subject is personal and poetic and deals with “high” and “low” culture with an egalitarianism which is to be commended … This is a fantastic book’.

The Enquiring Eye, (Journal of the Witchcraft Museum, Boscastle), Issue 2.


‘John Callow’s cultural history of witchcraft is a wonderful read. An historian with several books on witchcraft and on the 17th century, Callow is an enthusiastic writer who draws you along with him … Any cultural analysis is inevitably selective; Callow’s selection, even when gruesome, is compelling. Above all he is a consummate storyteller, concluding that the witch is a vehicle for transformation’.

The Fortean Times, Issue 372, November 2018


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