Gift an article

INTERVIEW | Act of Oblivion: Robert Harris on his new novel, about ‘the greatest manhunt of the 17th century’

accreditation
Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
loading...
Loading, please wait...
Robert Harris. (Photo: Supplied)
Robert Harris. (Photo: Supplied)

INTERVIEW: Robert Harris

In his new novel, besteselling author Robert Harris imaginatively fills a gap in the historical record. In 1660, when the English monarchy was restored after the “interregnum” that was Oliver Cromwell’s republican commonwealth, King Charles II made a deal with Parliament. There was a general amnesty for supporters of the commonwealth, except for those who had sentenced his father, Charles I, to death. Most of the regicides were rounded up (and gruesomely executed), but some escaped, including Colonel Edward (Ned) Whalley and William Goffe, who left for the American colonies. Little is known about what happened to them, and in that gap Harris creates an epic chase narrative. An invented figure, Richard Nayler, a spy-assassin in the service of the king, is determined to track down the fugitive regicides (to “nail” them, so to speak), so he goes to America, and a manhunt begins ... I spoke to Harris about this new novel, Act of Oblivion (Penguin), named for the law that sought to consign the regicides to the dustbin of history. 

Read this for free
Get 14 days free to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.
Try FREE for 14 days
Already a subscriber? Sign in
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE