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Now is the Time


Melvyn Bragg

On 30th May 1381 in Brentwood, two of King Richard II’s tax collectors, abandoned their attempt to collect the poll tax and were sent on their way, accompanied by a volley of arrows, fired over their retreating heads. The ‘Peasant’s Revolt’ had begun. Within two weeks a vast force of common people invaded London, led by a former soldier, Walter Tyler, and the radical preacher John Ball. They demanded freedom, equality and the complete overturning of the Church and state. It was an uprising that shook the nation but it was in Stockwell Street, Colchester that the preacher, John Ball was brought up at the same time as fellow Colcestrian, Watt Tyler, was formulating his ideas about social justice. Together they were the figureheads and focus of the biggest popular uprising the country has seen. In this book life in fourteenth century England is brilliantly imagined; the hopes and ideals of the rebels as well as the fears of the privileged court and church. This is a historical novel that brings to life the characters behind those momentous events.