From best-selling author of 'The Queen's Conjuror', the story of Nicholas Culpeper - legendary rebel, radical, Puritan, and author of the great Herbal. This is a powerful history of medicine's first freedom fighter set in London during Britain's age of revolution.
In the mid-seventeenth century, England was visited by the four horsemen of the apocalypse: a civil war which saw levels of slaughter not matched until the Somme, famine in a succession of failed harvests that reduced peasants to "anatomies", epidemics to rival the Black Death in their enormity, and infant mortality rates that left childless even women who had borne eight or nine children.
In the midst of these terrible times came 'Nicholas Culpeper's Herbal' - one of the most popular and enduring books ever published.
Culpeper was a virtual outcast from birth. Rebelling against a tyrannical grandfather and the prospect of a life in the church, he abandoned his university education after a doomed attempt at elopement. Disinherited, he went to London, Milton's "city of refuge, the mansion-house of liberty". There he was to find his vocation in instigating revolution.
In a spellbinding narrative of impulse, romance and heroism, Benjamin Woolley vividly recreates these momentous struggles and the roots of today's hopes and fears about the power of medical science, professional institution and government. 'The Herbalist' tells the story of a medical rebel who took on the authorities and paid the price.