Forced out of power in the"Glorious Revolution" of 1688, and defeated in the subsequent battle of the Boyne by William of Orange, the short reign of James II has an importance that reaches far beyond his three years in power.
An ardent Roman Catholic, his efforts to return England to the Catholic faith resonate to this day in Northern Ireland.
Similarly, his attacks on the representative institutions that had been developing since the Restoration, alienated an initially enthusiastic parliament.
William Speck looks at all these issues through the figure of the King.
Far more broad-ranging than other histories of James II, the book examines James' role in the American colonies - assigned to him by his brother Charles II - his role in Scotland between 1679 and 1862, and his final exercise of power in Ireland.