Now is the Time

Listen to a sample

What to expect

At the end of May 1381, the fourteen-year-old King of England had reason to be fearful: the plague had returned, the royal coffers were empty and a draconian Poll Tax was being widely evaded. Yet Richard, bolstered by his powerful, admired mother, felt secure in his God-given right to reign.

Within two weeks, the unthinkable happened: a vast force of common people invaded London, led by a former soldier, Walter Tyler, and the radical preacher John Ball, demanding freedom, equality and the complete uprooting of the Church and State. They believed they were rescuing the King from his corrupt ministers, and that England had to be saved. And for three intense, violent days, it looked as if they would sweep all before them.

In this gripping novel, Melvyn Bragg brings an extraordinary episode in English history to fresh, urgent life on both a grand and intimate scale, vividly portraying its central figures. It is an archetypal tale of an epic struggle between the powerful and the apparently powerless.

(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Critics Review

  • A gripping historical novel . . . his moving portraits of Tyler and Ball, their utopian hopes for England betrayed and destroyed just as they themselves are doomed to be, give Now Is the Time its real backbone and intensity.

    The Sunday Times
  • Bragg lifts the bare facts of England’s largest uprising and transforms them into a high-speed adventure, told from the alternating perspectives of the key players. Readable and pacy

    Zoë Apostolides, Financial Times
  • A beautifully written novel, combining modern insight with historical authenticity, and it is spellbinding.

    Kate Atherton, Sunday Express
  • Bragg excels at conjuring the wealth and squalor of late 14th-century London . . . it’s impossible not to be caught up.

    Daily Mail
  • Bragg brings his historical characters vividly to life and conveys a real sense of the appalling disparity in living conditions. The novel gathers unstoppable pace as the original poll tax uprising hurtles towards its brutal and unedifying conclusion.

    Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday
  • A vivid and surprisingly tender tribute to one of the wildest moments in Plantagenet history.

    Dan Jones, The Times

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.