Earls of Paradise: England and the Dream of Perfection by Adam Nicolson - review by John Adamson

John Adamson

Pursuit of the Pastoral

Earls of Paradise: England and the Dream of Perfection

By

HarperPress 298pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

Success at the Tudor and Stuart courts was a notoriously accident-prone attainment. In the favoured contemporary simile, those high-fliers who ‘soared Icarus-like’ towards the monarchical sun all too often ended up plummeting earthwards, with ignominious and often fatal results. Envy and enmity attended any great courtier’s rise. There was never a shortage of jealous rivals ready to hasten his fall.

Every now and again, however, there was one who – with intelligence, ruthlessness, skill and luck – managed to prosper in these rarefied and hazardous altitudes. And at the English court, few families achieved more stratospheric, or long-lasting, prosperity than the Herberts, Earls of Pembroke. The founder of the dynasty,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter