The King Over the Water: A Complete History of the Jacobites
Desmond Seward

The King Over the Water:  A Complete History of the Jacobites

There is no overall history for general readers of Britain's greatest lost cause, the restoration of our exiled royal family – the Stuarts. Recent research has transformed what we know about it, but has only been available in academic studies. This book fills the gap, telling the whole saga in England, Scotland and Ireland (through Jacobite eyes), from James II's flight in 1688 until his grandson Henry IX's death in 1807.


Most people think of Jacobitism as purely Scottish. Yet a Stuart rising in England was far from impossible until the 1750s when one in four landowners and many working men were Jacobites. The Irish war of 1689-91, the most ferocious of all Jacobite conflicts has been neglected, as has the long loyalty of Irishmen to the Stuarts – even in the 1790s France planned to make Henry IX King of Ireland. There was also an American Jacobitism.


Whether fighting at Killiecrankie, Prestonpans or Culloden, at Aughrim, Limerick or Fontenoy, or dying on the scaffold at Tyburn or the Tower of London, few men gave their lives for a cause with more conviction.



Book Details:

  • Author: Desmond Seward
  • Published Year: 2019
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Birlinn
Desmond Seward

Desmond Seward

Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Ampleforth and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He is the author of many books including The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders, The Hundred Years War, The Wars of the Roses, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry V as Warlord, Josephus, Masada and the Fall of Judaea (da Capo, US, April 2009), Wings over the Desert: in action with an RFC pilot in Palestine 1916-18 (Haynes Military, July 2009) and Old Puglia: A Portrait of South Eastern Italy (Haus August 2009). Forthcoming is The Last White Rose: the Spectre at the Tudor Court 1485-1547 (C...
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Book Reviews

  • "The King over the Water, though, is his best work because it plays to his gifts of being largely persuasive and consistently employing a briskness in pace, a clarity of style and a genius for capturing the character of those long dead, long-forgotten and, perhaps, never remembered."
  • "Since we are not overburdened by popular histories on Jacobitism, Seward’s lively book is a welcome addition."
    BBC History Magazine
  • "Seward's clear sighted examination of the Jacobite movement shows how close it came to succeeding."
    Alan Massie, The Scotsman
  • "Desmond Seward offers a fresh look … bracingly revisionist history."
    The Daily Telegraph
  • "Highly readable, with brilliantly rendered characters and thrilling tales of deceit and espionage."
    Military History
  • "Since we are not overburdened by popular histories on Jacobitism, Seward's lively book is a welcome addition … Such ripe and partisan prose will surely warm the cockles of the handful of diehard Jacobites, as Seward describes them, still alive today."
    Jacqueline Riding, BBC History