The year is 1665. England is in the midst of the Restoration, and John Milton, a blind, politically and religiously marginalized writer associated with Oliver Cromwell’s failed attempt to form a republic, has not yet published Paradise Lost. When one of the worst plagues in history descends upon London, he and his much younger wife are forced to flee to the countryside.
There Milton is befriended by the local curate, Rev. Theodore Wesson, who knows nothing about Milton’s controversial past or the dangers of associating with him. Soon their fates become intertwined when the curate’s hopes for advancement are threatened by his relationship to the notorious traitor and “king-killer,” John Milton.
The situation tests Wesson’s loyalty—to the monarchy, to friendship, to a church career—while complicating his already blurry sense of God’s involvement in human affairs. For Milton, the cost is potentially even greater: the target of assassination attempts since the restoration of the monarchy five years earlier, he has real reason to fear for his life.
A riveting and briskly paced novel that transports the reader to a very particular place and time even as its themes resonate with our own time, Thom Satterlee’s God’s Liar will take its place next to works as varied as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Colm Toibin’s The Master.
God’s Liar vividly and rivetingly recreates the world that John Milton lived in during the years when London was riven by the plague. But it is really a novel about what it means to take risks, to compromise, and to sometimes fail—in other words, it’s a novel about being human. And even if you are not someone who usually reads historic novels, you will be swept away by it.
Linda Mannheim, author of This Way to Departures
A comedy of manners . . . of the soul! What a delightful and unexpected novel, narrated by a wonderfully amicable liar you’ll come to love and forgive. Thom Satterlee has written a surprising book that ponders the big questions while making you laugh and, occasionally, squirm. I hope Anthony Hopkins plays John Milton in the film!
Thomas Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter