Excerpt from The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Judge Hunter

by Christopher Buckley

The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley X
The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2018, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Emily Isackson

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

October 13th, 1660. To my Lord's in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-General Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. Thus it was my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to see the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross. From thence to my Lord's, and took Captain Cuttance and Mr. Sheply to the Sun Tavern, and did give them some oysters.

—Samuel Pepys, diary entry

– CHAPTER 1 –
London, February 1664

Balthasar de St. Michel was contemplating his excellent good fortune at having such an influential brother-in-law as Samuel Pepys when he looked up and saw the head of Oliver Cromwell, mummifying on a pike. Revolting, he thought.

It had been there for—what—three years now? When the late king's son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, he ordered the moldering corpses of his father's executioners dug up, hanged, and decapitated. "Symbolic revenge." Ten of the fifty-nine men who signed the King's death warrant were rather less fortunate than Cromwell. They got hanged and butchered while alive.

Balthasar shuddered and moved briskly along to his destination, the Navy Office in Seething Lane, a busy warren near the Tower of London.

"Brother Sam!" he said with a heartiness suggesting it was a social call.

Samuel Pepys, Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy, looked up from his desk. His face did not convey delight. He knew from experience that this was not a social call.

"Brother Balty. I fear you find me much occupied."

"I was passing by. Thought to stick my head in. Say hello."

"Good of you," Pepys said heavily.

"What's the commotion?" Balty said, looking out the window at the bustle in the courtyard below.

"Meetings. So as you see, I am somewhat—"

"Say, how long are they going to leave Cromwell's head on that pike?"

Pepys sighed. "I wouldn't know. For as long as it pleases his majesty, I expect."

"Frightful thing."

"Yes, I imagine that's rather the point."

"Weren't you present when they"—Balty made a chopping motion—" lopped off the king's head?"

"Yes. I was sixteen. Played truant from school. And was well whipped for it. Now if you'll—"

"Didn't you also see the execution of the first of the regicides? What's his name . . . Harrison?"

"Yes. Well, good of you to—"

"Must have been ghastly. Hanging, disemboweling, cutting off the privy parts. Then—"

"Yes, Balty. It was horrid. So much so that I endeavor not to dwell upon it."

"People will suspect you've a penchant for gruesome entertainments." He pronounced the word in the French way, himself being half French. Balty and his sister, Pepys's wife, had the tendency to lapse into their father's native tongue.

"My penchant, Balty, is to be witness at great events. I do not attend only executions. I remind you that I was aboard the ship that brought his majesty back to England from Holland four years ago."

Pepys did not mention—to Balty or anyone, for that matter—the diary he'd been keeping since 1660. He wrote it in a shorthand decipherable only to himself, so that he could tell it all.

"Well, good to see you," Pepys said. "Do give Esther my love."

Esther was Balty's wife of two years, and the latest addition to the growing number of mouths it fell to Pepys to feed. His rise within the Navy Office had barely kept pace with the proliferation of impoverished relatives.

Excerpted from The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley. Copyright © 2018 by Christopher Buckley. Excerpted by permission of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Samuel Pepys's Diary

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Brother
    Brother
    by David Chariandy
    Brother is the brief, moving account of how a single, tragic moment in time can alter the course of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Spy of Venice
    The Spy of Venice
    by Benet Brandreth
    Benet Brandreth's delightfully diverting historical thriller brings the Bard to vibrant life. ...
  • Book Jacket: Three Things About Elsie
    Three Things About Elsie
    by Joanna Cannon
    The novel opens with the primary narrator, Florence, prone on the floor after a fall. She is in her ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    French Exit
    by Patrick deWitt

    A brilliant and darkly comic novel from bestselling author Patrick deWitt.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.