Royal Escape is Georgette Heyer's retelling of the king's escape following the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when Charles Stuart was soundly defeated by Cromwell's Roundheads. The 21-year-old king must flee to France to save his life, and is in almost constant danger as he and his followers travel the countryside in disguise. Political feelings are running high on both sides and there is a large reward promised to the man who gives information leading to the king's capture. The story follows the king as he makes several abortive attempts to leave the country. There are many humorous moments that keep it from becoming merely a frustrating string of mischances and ill luck. Heyer portrays Charles as a very personable young man with an irrepressible sense of humor. I think the fascination of this story is in that portrayal, actually, and from what I have read it's historically substantiated. Though ugly, Charles nevertheless has strong personal magnetism and commands loyalty in even the most fearful of his subjects. And really, it's those humble subjects who make the tale worth hearing. They are wholly devoted to his cause, even at the expense of their own lives, and count any privations they might suffer on his behalf as privileges. Though the thousand-pound reward would be a fortune beyond imagining to the poor country folk who aid him, the ones we meet would scorn to touch that "blood money." Heyer has a good ear for the sayings of the time, with people loyal to the king invariably called "honest" and each man doing "his possible." It was interesting how the Battle of Worcester was always called "Worcester fight." It's clear she has done her research, and everything rings true. I listened to this story on audiobook. Cornelius Garrett's vivacious reading was a pleasure to hear, and he did an excellent job differentiating the characters through their voices and accents. The female characters were a little weak; it seems harder for men to give a believable rendition of a woman's voice than for an actress to play a male part. But for the most part I enjoyed his reading. I think the pacing of this story dragged a little because of both its subject matter and because I listened to it on audiobook. Make no mistake, I enjoyed it. But sometimes I found myself wishing that Charles and Wilmot and all that crew would finally hit upon a successful way to smuggle the king out of England, so I could move on with my life ;). I might have enjoyed this more had I read it rather than listened to it, but I would still recommend it to fans of historical fiction for its memorable characters and rich, witty dialogue.