KINGI love nonfiction books about English history – specifically about the monarchy. The reason is that the antics of the kings and queens – and their courts – over the centuries is more compelling than any novelization of any reign. Seriously, the history of England’s monarchy is full of stranger than fiction stories that are even better because they are true.

Such is the case with story told in the wonderful new book, Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I by Charles Spencer (yes that Charles Spencer). We are treated to the story of those who plotted against King Charles I and the subsequent retribution they endured, all of which played out like a 17th century revenge flick.

About Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I by Charles Spencer: “On August 18, 1648, with no relief from the siege in sight, the royalist garrison holding Colchester Castle surrendered and Oliver Cromwell’s army firmly ended the rule of Charles I of England. To send a clear message to the fallen monarch, the rebels executed four of the senior officers captured at the castle. Yet still, the king refused to accept he had lost the war. As France and other allies mobilized in support of Charles, a tribunal was hastily gathered and a death sentence was passed. On January 30, 1649, the King of England was executed. This is the account of the fifty-nine regicides, the men who signed Charles I’s death warrant. Recounting a little-known corner of British history, Charles Spencer explores what happened when the Restoration arrived. From George Downing, the chief plotter, to Richard Ingoldsby, who claimed he was forced to sign his name by his cousin Oliver Cromwell, and from those who returned to the monarchist cause and betrayed their fellow regicides to those that fled the country in an attempt to escape their punishment, Spencer examines the long-lasting, far-reaching consequences not only for those who signed the warrant, but also for those who were present at the trial and for England itself.”

Charles Spencer is fine historian and uncovers a truly fascinating, and little known, corner of English history and presents it is a very readable and entertaining book. Now we just have to wait for a film version of the story, perhaps starring Liam Neeson.

Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I by Charles Spencer is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.