”Memoirs of a Cavalier” is a literary sleight of hand. Written in the style of an eyewitness account, it’s actually a work of fiction—a trick Defoe would repeat in his later book ”A Journal of a Plague Year”. Originally published anonymously, many readers of the time were fooled into thinking it was real.
The book’s unnamed protagonist is an English gentleman with a lust for adventure. He details his experiences on battlefields across Europe, as a soldier in both the Thirty Years' War and the English Civil War. With its vivid scenes of warfare, ”Memoirs of a Cavalier” truly makes history come alive.
English writer Daniel Defoe (c. 1660–1731) led an extraordinary life. As a child, he survived both the Great Fire of London and a major outbreak of the bubonic plague. As an adult, he enjoyed careers as a merchant, political satirist, rebel soldier and even a spy.
Defoe was in his fifties before he finally turned his hand to fiction. ”Robinson Crusoe”, his first novel, was an instant bestseller. The story of a shipwrecked sailor, its style and structure made it a landmark text in the history of English literature. His other notable works include ”Moll Flanders”, ”A Journal of the Plague Year” and ”Captain Singleton”.