Title: The Visit of the Royal Physician
Author: Per Olov Enquist
Publication Date: 2003 (1999)
Source: Bought Copy
An international sensation, The Visit of the Royal Physician
magnificently recasts the dramatic era of Danish history when Johann
Friedrich Struensee -- court physician to mad young King Christian --
stepped through an aperture in history and became the holder of absolute
power in Denmark. His is a gripping tale of power, sex, love, and the
life of the mind, and it is superbly rendered here by one of Sweden's
most acclaimed writers. A charismatic German doctor and brilliant
intellectual, Struensee used his influence to introduce hundreds of
reforms in Denmark in the 1760s. He had a tender and erotic affair with
Queen Caroline Mathilde, who was unsatisfied by her unstable, childlike
husband. Yet Struensee lacked the subtlety of a skilled politician and
the cunning to choose enemies wisely; these flaws proved fatal, and
would eventually lead to his tragic demise. (Goodreads Synopsis)
The Visit of the Royal Physician is a book I discovered after I fell in love with the film A Royal Affair and started searching for more books and information on Johann Struensee. I, therefore, came to the book with knowledge of the basic storyline, but I still got a lot out of it.
At first, I found the language a little stilted, but suddenly, a few chapters in, I realised I was hooked, swept up in the amazing story and beautifully drawn characters.
Enquist use of language and style of prose takes some getting used to, but once it starts to feel familiar it also becomes very interesting to read.
I really felt a lot more for Christian in this book than the film and less for Caroline. Streunsee is equally likeable and relatable in both the book and film and I must say I find him totally fascinating.
I can highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction who are looking for something a bit different than the usual fare and who are sick of books about the Tudors.