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Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown (Hardback)

The Kings and Queens Who Never Were

British History Medieval History P&S History Colour Books Medieval Royal History

By J F Andrews
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781526736512
Published: 2nd October 2019


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When William the Conqueror died in 1087 he left the throne of England to William Rufus … his second son. The result was an immediate war as Rufus’s elder brother Robert fought to gain the crown he saw as rightfully his; this conflict marked the start of 400 years of bloody disputes as the English monarchy’s line of hereditary succession was bent, twisted and finally broken when the last Plantagenet king, Richard III, fell at Bosworth in 1485.

The Anglo-Norman and Plantagenet dynasties were renowned for their internecine strife, and in Lost Heirs we will unearth the hidden stories of fratricidal brothers, usurping cousins and murderous uncles; the many kings – and the occasional queen – who should have been but never were. History is written by the winners, but every game of thrones has its losers too, and their fascinating stories bring richness and depth to what is a colourful period of history. King John would not have gained the crown had he not murdered his young nephew, who was in line to become England’s first King Arthur; Henry V would never have been at Agincourt had his father not seized the throne by usurping and killing his cousin; and as the rival houses of York and Lancaster fought bloodily over the crown during the Wars of the Roses, life suddenly became very dangerous indeed for a young boy named Edmund.

A really interesting look at the other members of the monarchy through the Middle Ages. A great start to see them and the family dynamic through war, politics, debt and more. A good read for those who like the history of kings and queens or English history between 1060 and 1400s.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

This is is a good overview of several potential heirs to the English crown and what happened to them. I liked the detail in the book and would recommend it.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

I had never heard of most of these "almost-rulers" -- with the exception of the Princes in the Tower and the Black Prince -- and it was interesting to read how the vicissitudes of fate led some people with royal blood to lose the crown, and sometimes their life!

NetGalley, Janette Forman

Good survey of the also-rans of the medieval English succession--the heirs displaced by civil war, who died before their royal fathers, the incidents of matrilineal descent (no Salic law in England), legitimized bastards and the overall theme that if one could seize the throne and hold it, the church and the law would come up with ways to justify it and legalize it.

NetGalley, Margaret Sankey

Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown is an engaging study of exactly that. Taking the reader from the years after the Norman Conquest until the beginning of the Tudor era, there is much to learn about those who should have been king or queen had happenstance been a little different.
The author has an engaging writing style, and if, every so often, the opinions offered are purely based on the author's personal preference, it can be overlooked, as most historians will always have a personal favourite, or enemy from the time period that they study, and the author does make it clear when offering a personal opinion.
It is a very readable book, and I particularly enjoyed reading about Lady Constance at the beginning of the 1400's (as I've just read a fiction book about her). Neither does the author shy away from such difficult topics as the murder of the lost heirs, and is aseven handed when recounting the lives of the Black Prince, as those who suffered at the hands of over-mighty uncles.

NetGalley, M J Porter

This will make a nice little addition to anyone's history shelf. It is, as I mentioned, a very readable narrative on those who came so close and yet lost it all .... "there are very few happy endings ...".... The chapters are easy to read and the narrative not overly cumbersome or dry. There are extensive notes for those who wish to read further - I have quite a few of these resources myself!

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

New insights into ancient history or why family is always and everywhere exciting. There are many new perspectives and interesting information about the "not so important" persons in England's succession to the throne. Very interesting, especially for "foreigners", to whom this side of history is largely inaccessible.

NetGalley, Nureeni Lem

I've read the stories of the royals who were "bypassed," but only as an aside as the monarchs who took power in their places were the focus of the stories. I stumbled upon this book and thought it would provide a different perspective, and it certainly did succeed at that. They're no longer just names in a history book - they're actually the focus of one for a change. I definitely learned a lot and it was an enjoyable read as well.

NetGalley, Jesse Lewis

About J F Andrews

J. F. Andrews is the pseudonym of a historian who has a PhD in Medieval Studies specialising in warfare and combat. Andrews has published a number of academic books and articles in the UK, the USA and France, and was one of the contributors to the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Andrews is also active in public engagement with history, having written several historical novels and contributed popular history articles to blogs and magazines. Andrews runs a highly regarded website offering background information on many aspects of medieval life, which is consulted by a wide range of historians, students and historical writers.

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