The New York Times bestseller, from the author of Crusaders, that tells the story of Britain’s greatest and worst dynasty—“a real-life Game of Thrones” (The Wall Street Journal)
The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.
Although less famous than their Tudor cousins, the unnaturally cruel and powerful Plantagenets were the longest-reigning English royal dynasty, ruling for more than two centuries, from Henry II s ascendance in 1154 after a violent civil war to Richard II s deposition at the hands of his cousin Henry Bolingbroke in 1399. The great-grandson of William the Conqueror, Henry II cunning, dynamic, and a great legalist ruled over England and great swaths of France, but was labeled a pariah for his involvement in Archbishop Thomas Becket s murder and was betrayed by his redoubtable wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their sons. One of the dynasty s worst kings was Henry II s youngest son, John weak, indecisive, and mean-spirited who killed his nephew, a hapless prisoner, with his own hands in a drunken rage, lost Normandy to France, and was forced to guarantee his barons rights through the Magna Carta. By contrast, John s great-great-grandson, Edward III, considered the greatest Plantagenet, was a new Arthur who bonded England s aristocracy together in the common purpose of war, revived the knight s code of chivalry, and ushered in English as the accepted language. Blood-soaked medieval England springs to vivid life in Jones s (Summer of Blood) highly readable, authoritative, and assertive history already a #1 bestseller in the U.K. 6 maps.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is an outstanding historical survey of the English Plantagenet Dynasty which ruled England in the Middle Ages from 1120 to 1399. The book is well-research, thoughtful, and makes sure to describe more than the battles. The book discusses how the English legal system developed, how the Magna Carta had a long-lasting impace on Middle Ages England. The writing style is quite good as well. Anyone interested in English or American history should read this book very carefully.
I really enjoyed this book. It is informative but not in a dry way. It is great storytelling about a really interesting time in European history. The characters of history are brought to life and the way Dan jones tells this story bridges the gap between the time the characters lived so long ago and today.