The author of the New York Times bestseller The Plantagenets and The Templars chronicles the next chapter in British history—the historical backdrop for Game of Thrones
The inspiration for the Channel 5 series Britain's Bloody Crown
The crown of England changed hands five times over the course of the fifteenth century, as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. In this riveting follow-up to The Plantagenets, celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest-reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors.
Some of the greatest heroes and villains of history were thrown together in these turbulent times, from Joan of Arc to Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt marked the high point of the medieval monarchy, and Richard III, who murdered his own nephews in a desperate bid to secure his stolen crown. This was a period when headstrong queens and consorts seized power and bent men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this dramatic narrative history revels in bedlam and intrigue. It also offers a long-overdue corrective to Tudor propaganda, dismantling their self-serving account of what they called the Wars of the Roses.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The Starks and Lannisters of Game of Thrones have nothing on the warring Houses of York and Lancaster. Historian Dan Jones follows up his bestseller The Plantagenets with a look at the bloody 15th-century conflict that ultimately led to the Tudors rising to the English throne. Jones captures the real people behind Shakespearean figures like Richard III and Henry VI, contrasting the royals’ political scheming and savage brutality with fascinating peeks into everyday medieval life. The repercussions of these wars have lasted for centuries—Jones’ vivid, detailed writing pulled us into these stories better than history class ever did.
It's not often that a book manages to be both scholarly and a page-turner, but British historian Jones succeeds on both counts in this entertaining follow-up to his bestselling The Plantagenets (currently in production as a television miniseries). Previously, Jones explored the Plantagenets' rise to power, while here he examines their destruction. He begins in 1422 when Henry V dies, leaving the throne to an infant, and continues for the next 100 years through the reign of Henry VIII. Following Henry VI's descent into madness and the utter collapse of royal authority, dynastic "wars of politics and personality" erupted as England's elite families fought over the throne. Jones breathes new life into an oft-told account of how the crown changed hands five times before a young Welshman with a dubious claim wrested it from Richard III in 1485. Only during a period of utter chaos, Jones argues, could the Tudors have risen so high so quickly. But, he contends, due to their weak claim, they were forced to annihilate the Plantagenets, going so far as Henry VIII having the elderly Margaret de la Pole executed in 1541. Jones sets a new high-water mark in the current revisionism of the Tudor era.
I love Dan Jones style of writing, these characters from history come alive with his prose. I look forward to rereading this in the future. Considering I rarely reread books after I am done it is the best way to describe how much I enjoyed this book.
Brilliant & comprehensive
Dan Jones has the gift of storytelling with academic precision and genuine enthusiasm. If you love English Royal history you will love this book. Same goes for The Plantagenets.
Wars of the Roses/Cousins Wars
A good look at a tumultuous, bloody, dramatic period of English history. The book is mostly chronological, but within each chronological section, the chapters bounce around a bit making it complicated to follow along at times. Never mentioned the original name of this period or the history behind why it became known as the Wars of the Roses.