It was in the month of November in this year that King Charles, accompanied by Sir John Berkely, Ashburnham, and Legg, made his escape from Hampton Court, and rode as fast as the horses could carry them toward that part of Hampshire which led to the New Forest. It is 1647. Charles I has been defeated in the civil war, but has escaped captivity and is making for France. Parliamentary soldiers searching the New Forest decide to burn the house of Colonel Beverly, a royalist officer killed at the Battle of Naseby. His four children are rescued by their father's gamekeeper, Jacob, who takes them in. The children gradually shed their aristocratic sensibilities and adapt to the simple ways of the forest, working Jacob's farmstead and befriending other inhabitants of the woodland. But when Charles II raises an army and the spectre of war returns to haunt the Beverly children, they realise they cannot hide from their true identity. This is the first enduring historical novel for children, which conjures up as much magic today as it did on first publication.
by Michael Rosen
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