Tyrannicide Brief

Overview

In 1649, no lawyer in the country would accept the brief of prosecuting Charles I, except one — John Cook, the bravest of barristers, who was killed as punishment for sending the King to the scaffold.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $3.76   
  • New (5) from $11.71   
  • Used (7) from $3.76   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$11.71
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(4689)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
New Book. Shipped from UK within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000.

Ships from: Horcott Rd, Fairford, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$15.14
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(18501)

Condition: New
Brand New, Perfect Condition, Please allow 4-14 business days for delivery. 100% Money Back Guarantee, Over 1,000,000 customers served.

Ships from: Westminster, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$15.15
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(10)

Condition: New
BRAND NEW. Orders dispatched typically within 2 business days via a TRACKABLE PRIORITY SERVICE. Delivery usually takes 2-4 working days.

Ships from: Sunrise, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
$39.80
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(9)

Condition: New
2006 Paperback New Book New and in stock. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able ... to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Morden, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$50.76
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(364)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In 1649, no lawyer in the country would accept the brief of prosecuting Charles I, except one — John Cook, the bravest of barristers, who was killed as punishment for sending the King to the scaffold.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise from the United Kingdom for
The Tyrannicide Brief

“Those terrible, blood-soaked years are vividly conjured up by Geoffrey Robertson. This is a fine book: well researched, well written, well indexed and well illustrated. The fact there is no bibliography is evidence that Robertson has broken new ground. Not only has he written the first biography of John Cooke, one of the pivotal figures of the mid-seventeenth century, but he has illuminated the legal process by which a powerful monarch was held to account by the law of the land.”
–Sunday Herald

“In telling his story, Geoffrey Robertson has redeemed from obscurity an unsung hero of true greatness, a selfless champion of the poor and a law reformer of rare distinction. More important, he has shed invigorating light on the course of the English Civil War.”
–The Spectator

“Geoffrey Robertson provides us with some fascinating insights into this significant case. What makes the book especially illuminating are the parallels with modern practice . . . [A] work of great compassion and, at a time when it seems to be fashionable for politicians to denigrate lawyers, an essential read for anyone who believes in the fearless independence of the law.”
–The Times

“[Robertson’s] forensic intelligence can penetrate where professional historians have not yet reached.”
–Literary Review

“A work of literary advocacy as elegant, impassioned and original as any the author can ever have laid before a court.”
–The Observer
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099459194
  • Publisher: Random House UK
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Edition description: NEW
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Robertson is a leading human rights lawyer and a UN war-crimes judge who has won landmark rulings on civil liberties from the highest courts in Britain, Europe, and the British Commonwealth. He was involved in the cases against General Pinochet and Hastings Banda and in the training of judges for the trial of Saddam Hussein. Robertson is the author of Crimes Against Humanity, which has been an inspiration for the global justice movement. Born in Australia, he now lives in London.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The first recorded existence of John Cooke is in the register of All Saints church in the village of Husbands Bosworth, just south of Leicester. Here he was baptised on 18 September 1608, an indication that his birth had taken place a few days before. He came from poor but healthy farming stock: his father, Isaac Cooke, was twenty-five, and would live until the age of seventy-four. Isaac was one of twelve children of Abraham Cooke, who would die in 1620 at a similar age. If John could come through his early years, in this period when a third of all infants died before reaching five, he could be expected to live through all the seven ages of man predicted by Shakespeare, at this time writing his final plays for the London theatre. His family were God-fearing farmers, with allotments that dotted the countryside for twenty miles to the town of Burbage. Husbands Bosworth was named for all its husbandmen – tenant farmers whose smallholdings sustained their families but little else – and that would have been his parents’ expectation for baby John. What mattered most to Isaac and Elizabeth was that he would live an abstemious and pious life, his ability to do so being regarded as an outward sign that he was one of the ‘elect’ predestined for paradise when the Son of God returned to claim the earth.

This mattered so much to these Puritan parents that for the baptism of their first-born they had travelled from their own farm, just outside Burbage, where the rector was a well-connected Anglican who obeyed the bishop, to Elizabeth’s austere family church. Its minister was willing to dispense with ‘impure’ rituals, like motioning the sign of the cross over the head of the baptised infant. That such a tiny gesture could become a major bone of contention between the bishops of the Church of England, who were sticklers for rituals and symbols, and those Puritan worshippers who wished to ‘purify’ the Church of all such distractions, was typical of the internecine squabbling that had rent the Anglican religion. Puritans like the Cookes were thick on the ground in the Midlands and the eastern counties and many local ministers were sympathetic to their preference for deritualised worship, which was anathema to King James and his bishops.

James I had been invited from Scotland (where he ruled as James VI) to take the English throne on Elizabeth I’s death in 1603. The optimism among Puritans in England that a man from the austere Calvinist Kirk would look sympathetically on their similar form of worship had soon been dashed: James was obsessed with his God-given right to rule as an absolute prince, through a hierarchy supported by archbishops and bishops, alongside his councillors and favourite courtiers. From the outset of his reign he urged the Anglican authorities to discipline ministers who refused to follow approved rituals or who spoke on politics from the pulpit. James I was very far from being ‘the wisest fool in Christendom’: he was highly educated and very canny, and he knew exactly where the Puritans’ hostility to hierarchy in their church would lead: ‘no Bishop, no King’.

James warned his son to ‘hate no man more than a proud Puritan’. He did not persecute them, but encouraged the Church to discriminate against them and to sack their ministers. The King’s edicts, on matters of Sunday observance in particular, were often at variance with the strict moral code of these godly communities, and the profligacy and debauchery of his court further outraged them. As John Cooke grew up, there was much prurient gossip amongst the faithful about a monarch who claimed divine authority yet who maintained a luxurious and licentious court, financed by selling titles and monopolies, and who boasted that his favourite pastimes were ‘hunting witches, prophets, Puritans, dead cats and hares’. After all, James had a grotesque parentage: his mother was Mary, Queen of Scots. He was  in her swollen belly when it was clutched at by her lover, David Riccio,  as he was being dragged to his death at Holyrood House by a team of assassins led by James’s father, Henry Stuart. Mary had later arranged for Henry to be strangled and had eventually been executed for plotting to kill her cousin and sister-queen Elizabeth I. If there was anything in the theory of hereditary right by which James acceded to the throne, it did not bode well for the Stuarts.

The farming community where the Cookes lived was small – there were only seventy families at Burbage (then named Burbach) and a handful in their hamlet of Sketchley. The town’s name – a construct from ‘burr’ (a kind of thistle) and ‘bach’ (a rivulet) – indicates the kind of countryside in which he played as a boy, although play was not encouraged by Puritans: they had been outraged when James issued a ‘Book of Sports’, permitting certain recreations after church on Sundays. As a young man, Cooke was well aware that the brand of religion on which he was raised was not in government favour. At school, where he excelled, he belonged to a group of Puritan children ostracised in the playground just as their parents were often excluded from worship in the church. There was one faith that suffered worse discrimination: the stateliest house in the area, Bosworth Hall, was owned by a Catholic family related to Sir Thomas More, and their secret celebration of Mass was the cause of occasional raids authorised by the local Justices of the Peace. Especially after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Catholics were regarded as potential terrorists, but the strength of their faith intrigued the boy, and would later tempt him to explore it before settling on his own. He spent long hours learning the Bible (the King James edition was printed in 1611, and widely distributed) and was brought up to believe that powerful men who had failed God’s election were abandoned to sin – a belief readily corroborated by reports of corrupt behaviour at court.

James, more homoerotically fixated as he became older, elevated his young male favourites (first Robert Carr, then George Villiers) to titles and positions of power entirely beyond their abilities. Scandalous rumours were rife throughout Cooke’s youth, confirmed by trials in 1616 which gripped the nation. The Countess of Essex, married to Robert Carr whom the King had made Earl of Somerset, arranged for Sir Thomas Overbury to be murdered, by having arsenic put in his food and then, when that failed, by administration of an enema filled with poison. Various of the poisoners were convicted and hanged, but not the earl or the courtiers who had procured the murder, who were pardoned because of their status. Puritans got the message: although their birth might be low on the social scale, in death God would raise them far above kings and courtiers. Another message – that there was no justice to be had in the King’s courts, at least in cases concerning the King and his favourites – would soon concern a new generation of lawyers for whom the common law of England, rooted in Magna Carta, brooked no such exceptions.

Another telling event of Cooke’s youth was the execution in 1618 of Sir Walter Ralegh, that great Renaissance Englishman – historian, explorer, poet, philosopher, intellectual and adventurer. He had been convicted in 1603 on trumped-up charges of plotting with Spanish interests to overthrow the newly crowned King James. His treason trial had been notable for the invective of the prosecutor, the ambitious Attorney-General Edward Coke:

Coke: You are the most vile and execrable traitor that ever lived.

Ralegh: You speak indiscreetly, uncivilly and barbarously.

Coke: I want words sufficient to express your viperous treasons.

Ralegh: I think you want words indeed, for you have spoken one thing half a dozen times.

Coke: You are an odious fellow; your name is hateful to all the realm of England . . . I will make it appear to the world that there never lived a viler viper on the face of the earth than you.

This abuse of the defendant was what passed for cross-examination in treason trials, after which jurors who had been hand-picked by the King’s officials were expected to convict. This time, unusually, Coke’s venom backfired: Ralegh’s dignity earned him such popular support that James, cautious at the outset of his reign, felt it politic to suspend his death sentence. Sir Walter lived in modest comfort in the Tower of London, in rooms that can still be viewed, and was released in 1616 to mount an expedition in search of Spanish gold. It was unsuccessful, but it rekindled Spain’s hatred of the man who had sunk so many of its galleons and had razed Cadiz. His execution was demanded as a condition of fulfilling James’s pet project of marriage between his own heir (Charles) and the Spanish princess. James could hardly put Ralegh on public trial for attacking England’s traditional enemy: instead, he ordered his Chancellor, the brilliant but bent Francis Bacon, to arrange to have the 1603 death sentence put into effect. Ralegh went to his long-delayed execution with memorable dignity, after a scaffold speech which persuaded everyone of his innocence and which convinced two of the onlookers – the MPs John Eliot and John Pym – that the Stuarts could not be trusted to govern the country. James was depraved, unpopular and idle: now he had killed an English hero at the request of Spain. There remained a general belief that he had been appointed by God, but by the end of his reign it had occurred to many MPs to examine more closely the terms of that divine appointment.

James had only one male heir, the small (5 feet 4 inches), stammering and petulant Charles, born in 1600. He was made Prince of Wales in 1616, after the death of Henry, his more popular elder brother. While John Cooke spent his boyhood in the bosom of a loving family circle, Charles had to endure long periods of separation from his mother, at the insistence of an unloving father who had him indoctrinated with the Divine Right of the Stuarts to rule and to be obeyed. James had set down these precepts in a small volume, Basilikon Doron, a handbook for the Divine Right monarch. From it, Charles was made to believe that his God-given authority over his people was like that of a father over his children. James preached the benefits of what would now be described as a benign political and spiritual dictatorship, in which the King governed through an elite, chosen and discarded at his own discretion, comprising his ministers, his bishops and judges, who must never question the royal prerogative, for ‘that is to take away the mystical reverence that belongs to those that sit in the throne of God’. In this Stuart utopia, Parliament was irritating and irrelevant and alternative religions were positively dangerous. James had written another book to refute the claim – by Geneva Calvinists – that monarchy entailed a contract with the people, who might resist and remove a king if he breached it. On the contrary, the monarch is ‘the absolute master of the lives and possessions of his subjects; his acts are not open to inquiry or dispute, and no misdeeds can ever justify resistance’. It was an argument that Shakespeare, in context ironically, put thus in Pericles:

Kings are earth’s gods; in vice their law’s their will,
And if Jove stray, who dares say, Jove doth ill?

One Englishman who dared to quarrel with the King over whether God gave him power to override the common law was Sir Edward Coke. He had been appointed Chief Justice after his crown-pleasing (if not crowd-pleasing) prosecution of Ralegh. His legendary confrontation with James at a Privy Council meeting in 1608 arose when the King claimed that since he was divinely ordained and thus the supreme judge on earth, he could override the decisions of any of the other judges, all of whom he had appointed and could dismiss at will. Judges might (as Bacon had said) be ‘lions under the throne’, but they were under it, and tethered. The Chief Justice disagreed: God’s prodigy the King might be, but he was bound to obey the common law: ‘The law is the golden metewand and measure to try the causes of your majesty’s subjects, and it is by that law that your majesty is protected in safety and peace.’ At this, James flew into a rage, screaming that it was treason to say that he was under the law. The King lurched forward to punch Coke, but the Chief Justice prostrated himself and begged for mercy. It had been a courageous moment and Coke’s short-lived defiance reverberates today, but at the time had little support. James I’s subjects believed that the King’s authority was bestowed by God, a belief endorsed by all his other judges. Monarchical government was ordained by God and resistance to the King’s power was both mortal sin and treason.

James’s assertion that the King could do no wrong would never be tested during his reign. Judges were not minded to assert any power over him, even if (as Coke contended) they had it, because they lacked tenure of their office and could always be sacked if they displeased him. Coke himself was dismissed from the Chief Justiceship for that very reason in 1616: he had infuriated James once again, this time by refusing to concede that the King was entitled to summon the judges for a private ‘consultation’ about a case to which the King was a party. But Coke, despite his intellectual courage, was as corrupt as all other gifted commoners when it came to advancing his career or his wealth. He sought to worm his way back into royal favour by forcing his fourteen-year-old daughter to marry the Duke of Buckingham’s idiot brother, tying her to a bedpost and whipping her until she gave a sobbing consent, and battling, on the streets and in court, with his wife who opposed the match. Challenging the absolutist claim of royal power would require a different breed of men, with a faith firm enough to transcend trivial temptations of earthly wealth or privilege. Disappointed, Coke became a baleful anti-Stuart presence in Parliament, and wrote his justly famous Institutes, a textbook which taught John Cooke’s generation of law students to revere Magna Carta as the source of English liberty and that kings, for all their ‘natural reason’, could not be accepted as interpreters of the common law, since they lacked training in ‘the artificial reason and judgment’ by which the laws of the realm of England were to be understood and applied. Coke’s point – that ‘law is an art which requires long study and experience, before a man can attain to the cognizance of it’ – was not just a denial of the theory of the monarch-judge, but a claim to a professional monopoly.  The prospect was congenial to students slaving over tedious texts and precedents for the seven long years of study at the Inns of Court.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)