I had never read anything of Ronald Blythe’s before, and The Assassin was one of those serendipitous finds. I’m glad it happened, because it is a wonderful book.
The eponymous assassin is John Felton, the officer who stabbed George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in a Portsmouth inn, in 1628. In Twenty Years Later, Dumas Père paints Felton as a mad-eyed fanatic manipulated by the wicked Milady – but the story was quite different. A greedy royal favourite and an incompetent military leader, Buckingham was so extremely unpopular that his death was met with much rejoicing, and Felton was celebrated as a hero… Continue reading