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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England - Dan Jones

bookshelves: history, net-galley, autumn-2013, plantagenet-1154-1485, medieval5c-16c, britain-england, families, france, e-book, published-2012

Read from November 25 to 29, 2013


From the description: England’s greatest royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, ruled over England through eight generations of kings. Their remarkable reign saw England emerge from the Dark Ages to become a highly organised kingdom that spanned a vast expanse of Europe. Plantagenet rule saw the establishment of laws and creation of artworks, monuments and tombs which survive to this day, and continue to speak of their sophistication, brutality and secrets.

I see 15 grramazon users have shelved this as historical fiction and maybe a wander through their reviews to see whether it is because they don't buy into Mr Jones's spin of those times or maybe it is a case that they have not read and made an approximation as to genre. Either way, I won't be reading reviews until completion.

Two things bother me before even a page has been opened:

1 - in the description it subjectively states 'England’s greatest royal dynasty'
2 - surely the death of Richard III was the end of this dynasty.

That is enough of pre-read musing, on with the show...

Front quote:
For a sensible man ought to consider that Fortune’s favour is
variable and her wheel is ever turning ... the Prince must take
care, and always have imprinted on his mind the fact that
although the merciful Creator ... is long-suffering and patient
... He is likewise severe in executing punishment and
vengeance upon the stubborn and wilful, and usually begins to
exact that punishment here on earth.

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
List of Genealogical Tables
French Kings, 1060–1422

Opening: PART I
Age of Shipwreck
It was as if Christ and his saints were asleep

The prince was drunk. So too were the crew and passengers of the ship he had borrowed. On 25 November 1120, nearly two hundred young and beautiful members of England and Normandy’s elite families were enjoying themselves aboard a magnificent white-painted longship.

It started with a Ship - a Mediaeval booze cruise.

Page 114/672: "What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born clerk!" (this is often, incorrectly, rendered as 'will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?)

Although nothing new is brought to the table, the writing style has much improved since 'Summer of Blood' and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this history as it sent me off scurrying to find extra reading on the really juicy bits. Truly wonderful as a primer but that does mean it is a little shallow for experienced readers.

Savoury side dishes:

- re-visit to Becket
- Murder in the Cathedral
- Edward II Blog
- revisit: The Lion in Winter
- Medievalists Blog

2* Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
3* The Plantagenets