The King Over the Water

A Complete History of the Jacobites

Desmond Seward

This is the first full, modern history of the Jacobite cause in its entirety as it played out in Scotland, England, Ireland, Europe and even America. Based on the latest research, The King over the Water weaves together all the strands of this gripping saga into a vivid, sweeping narrative.
Date Published :
May 2021
Publisher :
Illustration :
16pp color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781780276069
Pages : 384
Dimensions : 9.45 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781780276762
Pages : 416
Dimensions : 7.7 X 5.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Also available as an ebook:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Kobo Kobo

Casemate will earn a small commission if you buy an ebook after clicking a link here


Shortlisted for the Military History Matters Book of the Year Award, 2020

This is the first modern history for general readers of the entire Jacobite movement in Scotland, England and Ireland, from the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 that drove James II into exile to the death of his grandson, Cardinal Henry, Duke of York, in 1807. The Battle of Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s flight through the heather are well known, but not the other risings and plots that involved half of Europe and even revolutionary America.

Based on the latest research, The King over the Water weaves together all the strands of this gripping saga into a vivid, sweeping narrative, full of insight, analysis and anecdote. ‘Few causes have aroused a more gallant response from the peoples of these islands than the Honest Cause’, writes Desmond Seward, ‘whether they were fighting for it at Killiecrankie, Prestonpans or Culloden, at the Boyne, Aughrim or Fontenoy, or dying for it on the scaffold’.


'An engaging look at the violent struggle of the surprisingly diverse Jacobites...Seward’s narrative is swift and cinematic with neatly sketched character portraits, from William III (“skeletal, round-shouldered, eagle-nosed and racked by asthma”) to Queen Anne (“obese, purple-faced, rheumy eyed [and] a martyr to gout”)’

- Rhys Jones, Times Literary Supplement

An outstanding contribution to our understanding of a complex and extended passage of history. So much about the Jacobites has tended to focus on just one or two brief episodes taken from what was, in reality, a very long-running soap opera

Seward’s style is approachable and eminently readable, leading you through the many twists and turns. Deserves to be widely read'

- Undiscovered Scotland

Highly readable, with brilliantly rendered characters, and thrilling tales of deceit and espionage. Seward writes of the Jacobites from a sympathetic point of view. Yet he does not shy away from the fact that, the Jacobites were never seriously in with a chance of restoring their rule'

- Calum Henderson, Military History Monthly

Seward demonstrates that the Jacobites were a multi-faceted and multinational bunch, united by a common vision of an alternative future. Swift and cinematic, with neatly sketched character portraits'

- Financial Times

Seward offers a fresh look at the struggle to restore the Stuart monarch after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. A bracingly revisionist history'

- Telegraph

Seward's best work, persuasive and consistently employing a briskness in pace, a clarity of style and a genius for capturing the character of those long dead, long-forgotten and, perhaps, never remembered ... a rollickingly, splendidly chronological history'

- Herald

Seward's clear-sighted examination of the Jacobite movement shows how close it came to succeeding'

- Allan Massie, Scotsman

Seward's detailed descriptions of the Princes, Princesses, Kings and Queens create a sense of theatre and allow the reader to fully immerse themselves into the dramatic events of the period ... an engaging and easy read, perfect for emerging history buffs. 4.5/5 stars.'

- Scottish Field

'Those with an interest in such matters will be delighted to read historian Desmond Seward’s new book. It sets theStuarts’ story in context – chronologically, constitutionally, politically, religiously and regionally’

- Lancashire Post

A hugely detailed and complex history, woven into an engaging and revealing guide to what deserves to be told about the Jacobites'

- Edinburgh University Club of Toronto

Desmond Seward is a prolific author of an impressively broad range of popular histories. Since we are not overburdened by popular histories on Jacobitism, this lively book is a welcome addition'

- BBC History Magazine

More from this publisher