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A Hidden History of the Tower of London (Hardback)

England's Most Notorious Prisoners

British History London P&S History Social History

By John Paul Davis
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526761767
Published: 28th February 2020

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Famed as the ultimate penalty for traitors, heretics and royalty alike, being sent to the Tower is known to have been experienced by no less than 8,000 unfortunate souls. Many of those who were imprisoned in the Tower never returned to civilisation and those who did, often did so without their head! It is hardly surprising that the Tower has earned itself a reputation among the most infamous buildings on the planet.

There have, of course, been other towers. Practically every castle ever built has consisted of at least one; indeed, even by the late 14th century, the Tower proudly boasted no less than 21. Yet even as early as the 1100s, the effect that the first Tower had on the psyche of the local population was considerable. The sight of the dark four-pointed citadel – at the time the largest building in London – as it appeared against the backdrop of the expanding city gave rise to many legends, ranging from the exact circumstances of its creation to what went on within its strong walls. In ten centuries what once consisted of a solitary keep has developed into a complex castle around which the history of England has continuously evolved. So revered has it become that legend has it that should the Tower fall, so would the kingdom.

Beginning with the early tales surrounding its creation, this book investigates the private life of an English icon. Concentrating on the Tower’s developing role throughout the centuries, not in terms of its physical expansion into a site of unique architectural majesty or many purposes but through the eyes of those who experienced its darker side, it pieces together the, often seldom-told, human story and how the fates of many of those who stayed within its walls contributed to its lasting effect on England’s – and later the UK’s – destiny. From ruthless traitors to unjustly killed Jesuits, vanished treasures to disappeared princes and jaded wives to star-crossed lovers, this book provides a raw and at times unsettling insight into its unsolved mysteries and the lot of its unfortunate victims, thus explaining how this once typical castle came to be the place we will always remember as The Tower.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An interesting and fascinating read, well researched and full of information.
I found it engrossing and informative, an excellent read.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

This book is a 1000 year history of the Tower of London. Certainly a fascinating place both architecturally and historically, the book is chock full of stories, rumors lives and deaths of it’s many and varied inhabitants over the years.

NetGalley, Andrea Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you enjoy the Tower of London, then you really are going to need to grab a copy of this book. Get the ins and outs of daring escapes, fires, prisoners of renown, and the little known history that lay behind the Tower of London.

While reading through this book, there were several pieces that were presented that I was acquainted with, but there were many that I had never heard of. We know of some of the higher profile nobility that were held within the tower, but this book gives you so much more.

The stories presented in this book, and the tidbits of history left me wanting to dig deeper! To whet the appetite of a historian - well, you can imagine the copious amounts of notes, highlighting, and research that could be delved into.

A great and amazing read - I look forward to hearing more from this author in the future! Well written, and full of wonderful information, this book is a winner!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but when I come across a book like this I really have to ask myself why. Packed full of the people and events surrounding the Tower of London, author John Paul Davis really brings history alive in "A Hidden History of the Tower of London". It honestly surprised me how little I knew. This book is very informative and written in a very engaging way.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

I love learning about the tower of London. Even more so about the hidden history of it. Really interesting book with loads of information that I never knew about it! 4 stars

NetGalley, Millie Scott-Allen

This is a very comprehensive book of those imprisoned in the Tower. As a Tudor fan I found it pretty interesting and it was a great way to learn more about the Tower itself.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

This is a (very) comprehensive history of the life and times of those who at one time or another inhabited the Tower of London from its inception by William the Conqueror. It was remodeled several times throughout the years, so much so that William wouldn't have recognized it.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

A interesting read about the history behind the tower and all that lt has seen.

NetGalley, Samantha Redworth

About John Paul Davis

John Paul Davis is the international bestselling author of ten thriller novels and three historical biographies. His debut thriller, The Templar Agenda, was a UK top 20 bestseller; The Cortés Trilogy has also been an international bestseller, rising to #33 in the UK kindle chart and #18 in the US.


As well as being a thriller author, his debut work, Robin Hood: The Unknown Templar, has been the subject of international attention, including articles in The Sunday TelegraphThe Daily MailYorkshire Post and Nottingham Evening Post, mentions in USA Today and The Independent and reviews in the Birmingham Post and Medieval History Journal. His second work, Pity for the Guy, was the first full-length biography of Guy Fawkes and was featured on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show in November 2011. His most recent work of non-fiction, The Gothic King, was released in April 2013.


He was educated at Loughborough University and lives in Warwickshire. His websites are www.officiallyjpd.com and www.theunknowntemplar.com. Twitter @unknown_templar

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