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The first biography of the rebel baron who deposed and murdered Edward II.
One night in August 1323 a captive rebel baron, Sir Roger Mortimer, drugged his guards and escaped from the Tower of London. With the king's men-at-arms in pursuit he fled to the south coast, and sailed to France. There he was joined by Isabella, the Queen of England, who threw herself into his arms. A year later, as lovers, they returned with an invading army: King Edward II's forces crumbled before them, and Mortimer took power. He removed Edward II in the first deposition of a monarch in British history. Then the ex-king was apparently murdered, some said with a red-hot poker, in Berkeley Castle.
Brutal, intelligent, passionate, profligate, imaginative and violent: Sir Roger Mortimer was an extraordinary character. It is not surprising that the queen lost her heart to him. Nor is it surprising that his contemporaries were terrified of him. But until now no one has appreciated the full evil genius of the man. This first biography reveals not only the man's career as a feudal lord, a governor of Ireland, a rebel leader and a dictator of England but also the truth of what happened that night in Berkeley Castle.
‘Mortimer's book roars, races and sings... with a sense of passion and drama and an unrelenting pace’ Daily Telegraph
Roger Mortimer was an accomplished warrior under Edward II of England, then rebelled against his tyranny, escaped from the Tower of London, began an affair with Edward's estranged wife, Queen Isabella, invaded England with her and forced the king to abdicate. After effectively ruling England for three years on Edward III's behalf, Roger slipped into tyrannical rule and was overthrown by the young king. In this excellent companion to Alison Weir's new Queen Isabella, the author's archival experience is apparent in his deft handling of sources. Mortimer (a British historian with no relation to his subject) packs fascinating information and interpretation into a fast-paced and entertaining narrative. His accounts of battles, especially Bannockburn, flawlessly blend action, strategy, personality and background detail. Mortimer includes considerable analysis of Edward II's famously brutal murder, arguing that the king actually survived and lived some years after the attempt. While it's hard to argue against centuries of received opinion, Mortimer effectively addresses gaps in the known facts and bolsters recent recasting of the history of this violent era. 8 pages of b&w photos, 4 maps.