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A rich, sprawling cast of characters, the Plantagenets were both gifted and cursed by an inherited trait that made some brilliant rulers and statesmen, and others cowards, bullies and tyrants. They ruled over wars of conquest and wars of defence. They fought holy Crusades and bitter feuds with Rome. At times their subjects enjoyed prosperity, security, national glory and vast wealth; at others they suffered plagues, invasions, famines and ignominious defeat at the hands of their enemies. The Plantagenets were by turns beautiful and cruel, judicious and insanely paranoid, brilliant and a tragically flawed family.THE PLANTAGENETS is divided into three parts, each telling a gripping story of the three main eras of Plantagenet rule. Together they combine as a historical epic of the sort that has not been written of British history for nearly a century. Parts I, II and III, The Angevins (c.1150 - 1272), The Edwards (1272 - 1360) and The English (1360 - 1399) look at fascinating characters such as Count Goeffrey V of Anjou, the first Plantagenet, Richard the Lionheart and his less famous older brother Henry, Edward the Black Prince and the stunning and influential princess Joan of Kent.In a book of dazzling scope and ambition, Dan Jones paints a psychological family portrait of the royal house of Plantagenet, creating a mesmerising new history of Britain before the Tudors. This is truly a definitive book building on the compelling style of his first book, SUMMER OF BLOOD, bringing medieval Britain into vivid focus for the modern reader, and accessible to readers from age 9 to 90.
The New York Times bestseller that tells the story of Britain’s greatest and worst dynasty—“a real-life Game of Thrones” (The Wall Street Journal)—by the author of The Templars 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.
England, 1154. As Henry II seizes the throne after years of turmoil, a new dynasty is poised to haul this hitherto turbulent nation out from the Dark Ages and transform it into the nation state we recognize today. Featuring some of England's greatest but also most notorious kings, the house of Plantagenet would reign for over 300 blood-soaked, yet foundational, years. The dynasty provides some of the most evocative names in our history: from the brave yet rash Richard the Lionheart, his treacherous brother John, the hapless Richard II, and the hero of Agincourt Henry V, through to the controversial Richard III. And in this authoritative, intelligent and grippingly written book, acclaimed historian Derek Wilson brings this thrilling era to life.
"Dan Jones has an enviable gift for telling a dramatic story while at the same time inviting us to consider serious topics like liberty and the seeds of representative government." —Antonia Fraser From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets, a lively, action-packed history of how the Magna Carta came to be. The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles—even its language—can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status? Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agreed to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king's high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries. Jones's riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta's creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unexpected afterlife. Reissued by King John's successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits to the exercise of royal power. It established the principle that taxation must be tied to representation and paved the way for the creation of Parliament. In 1776 American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king and to demand even more far-reaching rights. We think of the Declaration of Independence as our founding document but those who drafted it had their eye on the Magna Carta. From the Hardcover edition.
A complete account of the rulers and politics of the Plantagenet reign.
There are periods in history when things are seen dimly as through a veil. Such were the years from 1377 to 1485. During this time the Chronicles were silent and the sources of information few. And yet these were eventful years, filled with important, strange, colorful and sometimes mystifying events. The Wars of the Roses were fought; a few men began to preach and a nation began to listen to new beliefs; the stout men of the soil rose against feudal injustices; and the greatest of mysteries grew out of the deaths of two princes in the Tower of London. This is the period covered by Thomas B. Costain in THE LAST PLANTAGENETS. It is not claiming too much to say that here the veil has been raised and that throughout the book a bright light plays on this century of excitement and romance and stories stranger than fiction. Here we read of a king who devoted much of his reign to revenge; of the same young monarch riding out boldly to face the peasants demanding a fairer deal; of the winning of Fair Kate of France by the spectacular warrior king, Henry V; of the emergence of a commoner known in history as the Kingmaker; of a ruler who condemned his brother to death and the carrying out of the sentence, according to public report at the time, by drowning the prince in a butt of wine. By way of climax to the saga of the extraordinary Plantagenets with their brilliant successes, tragic reverses and wild extravagances, the last section of the book is devoted to a summary of the case of Richard III. Was Richard the villainous hunchback of stage and story who had his nephews murdered to clear his way to the throne? Or was he the whipping boy of history, whose voice could not be raised in defense from the grave and whose friends did not dare speak out? All the evidence in this unsolved mystery is gathered up and the author achieves in the telling a mounting tension which has never before, perhaps, been reached. Readers today might well raise their eyes from the perusal of newspaper murders to find in this case the strangest and most gripping story of all. This is the fourth, and last, volume in what Thomas B. Costain originally intended to be a history of England. The three earlier volumes were published under the titles The Conquerors, The Magnificent Century and The Three Edwards. Some time in the future the publishers may combine the four, with some necessary additions, to be issued as a history of the Plantagenet kings.

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