Deliver Me From Evil
Some people become fascinated with a period or a person and convert this passion into a project of love. This is true for Terry Stanton’s Deliver Me from Evil, which is a huge brick of a book dedicated to exploring the adventurous life of Thomas Wentworth, future Earl of Strafford, confidant to King Charles I and a man who paid for his loyal service to his king with his life.
Thomas Wentworth is a complicated character. Highly intelligent and well-educated, Thomas was a man of ruthless ambition, albeit with a strong moral compass. In the quagmire that was English politics in the decades preceding the Civil War, such men could rise very, very high—and fall just as fast.
Stanton presents a multi-layered and fascinating portrait of this man and his times. We meet a devoted son, a loving husband, a man who wants to do the right thing. We also meet a man who wants to better himself, move up in the world. Wentworth is described through his own eyes, but also through a multitude of other points of view, all of them in first person. As a reader, I found it a tad exhausting. It also causes the writing to become over-episodical. Deliver Me from Evil could have done with a substantial culling to tighten the narrative and increase readability.
Throughout, Mr Stanton writes in very modern English. Women get pregnant, people are “pretty rich”, Wentworth calls his father everything from Father to Dad, Daddy and Papa. While not an advocate for period dialogue—few would understand it—I do feel the repeated use of modern idioms jar.
In conclusion, I am impressed by the author’s evident passion and by his thorough research but hoped for a more reader-friendly novel.