A drunken Robert Merivel accidentally cures one of the King's spaniels and as a result becomes a court favourite. He is even given a fine home in Norfolk as a reward for taking care of one of Charles II's other pets: his mistress. But after his spectacular fall from favour, it is his devout friend John Pearce-in every way his opposite-who brings him into a Quaker community and saves him from his excessive appetites. Or at least he tries to. Restoration brilliantly realises the world of the 17th century, from the intellectual, dissolute court to the Fire of London; but it is also moving, funny and, in the character of Merivel, unique and unforgettable.