Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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. Agent: Georgina Capel, Capel & Land (U.K.). (Apr. 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

They may lack the glamour of the Tudors or the majesty of the Victorians, but in Jones' latest book, the Plantagenets are just as essential to the foundation of modern Britain. As he chronicles the entire dynasty, beginning with Geoffrey of Anjou (commonly adorned with a sprig of Planta genista, which gave his line their moniker), familiar dramatis personae emerge. Of course, there's the recklessly brave Lionheart and the incomparably inept John, but Jones devotes ample time to the forces at work that shaped the kingdom. The great battles against the Scots and French and the subjugation of the Welsh make for thrilling reading but so do the equally enthralling struggles over succession, the Magna Carta, and the Provisions of Oxford. Many of these early inklings toward a permanent parliament and the rule of law would find a much fuller and fraught expression under the Stewarts, but they begin here. Written with prose that keeps the reader captivated throughout accounts of the span of centuries and the not-always-glorious trials of kingship, this book is at all times approachable, academic, and entertaining.--Orbesen, James Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Although their presence in popular culture pales in comparison with that of the Tudors, the Plantagenet succession that ruled England for nearly 300 years during the Middle Ages was no less interesting or pivotal to the development of the Western world. Here, historian Jones (Summer of Blood) presents a riveting portrait of the royal lineage from Henry II through Richard II, after which the line split into the houses of York and Lancaster (the subject of Jones's next book). The author's special focus is on the qualities and decisions that led to each ruler's eventual downfall. Despite the density caused by any attempt to cram centuries of English history into one volume, Jones manages to create a work that is highly accessible to readers with only a basic knowledge of this era. The brief "Further Reading" section instead of a bibliography is a disappointment, however. -VERDICT While the sheer volume of information presented may prove daunting to the casual reader, this is an excellent study of the period, both an overview and a series of character studies. It will be thoroughly enjoyed by Anglophile history buffs and others who love popular history or even historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/12. To read LJ's Q&A with the author, visit ow.ly/iPC85.]-Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Although their presence in popular culture pales in comparison with that of the Tudors, the Plantagenet succession that ruled England for nearly 300 years during the Middle Ages was no less interesting or pivotal to the development of the Western world. Here, historian Jones (Summer of Blood) presents a riveting portrait of the royal lineage from Henry II through Richard II, after which the line split into the houses of York and Lancaster (the subject of Jones's next book). The author's special focus is on the qualities and decisions that led to each ruler's eventual downfall. Despite the density caused by any attempt to cram centuries of English history into one volume, Jones manages to create a work that is highly accessible to readers with only a basic knowledge of this era. The brief "Further Reading" section instead of a bibliography is a disappointment, however. -VERDICT While the sheer volume of information presented may prove daunting to the casual reader, this is an excellent study of the period, both an overview and a series of character studies. It will be thoroughly enjoyed by Anglophile history buffs and others who love popular history or even historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/12. To read LJ's Q&A with the author, visit ow.ly/iPC85.]-Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.