Post-classical history

The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England

The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England

Eight generations of the greatest and worst kings and queens that this country has ever seen - from the White Ship to the Lionheart, bad King John to the Black Prince and John of Gaunt - this is the dynasty that invented England as we still know it today - great history to appeal to readers of Ken Follet, Bernard Cornwell, and Tom Holland.

The Plantagenets inherited a bloodied, broken kingdom from the Normans, and set about expanding royal rule until it stretched at its largest from the Scottish lowlands to the Pyrenees, and from the Ireland to the foothills of the Holy Roman Empire. At the same time, they developed aspects of English law, government, architecture, art and folklore that survive to this day. Despite all this, and having reigned for twice as long as their eventual successors, the Tudors, the Plantagenets remain relatively unknown.

In this gripping, vivid new book, Dan Jones brings the Plantagenets and their world back to life. This is both an epic narrative history of the 'high' Middle Ages, and a spellbinding portrait of a family blessed and cursed in equal measure. 'The Plantagenets' sweeps from Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine's creation of a European empire to Richard the Lionheart's heroic Third Crusade and King John's humbling under Magna Carta. It explores the beginning of parliament under Henry III. It charts the fierce rule of Edward Longshanks, who conquered Wales and subdued Scotland but could never come to terms with his own son, the ill-fated Edward II. The book comes to an exciting climax in the age of chivalry, as Edward III saw England triumph in the Hundred Years War while plague stalked Europe, before the Black Prince and his beautiful princess Joan of Kent raised a son, Richard II, who would come to destroy the Plantagenet legacy. It is a compelling, fascinating journey through Britain's most spectacular age.




Part I – Age of Shipwreck (1120–1154)

The White Ship

Hunt for an Heir

The Shipwreck


A Scandalous Wife

Henry the Conqueror

Peace Process

Part II – Age of Empire (1154–1204)

Births and Rebirth

L’Espace Plantagenet

Unholy War

Succession Planning

The Eagle’s Nest

Henry Triumphant

A World on Fire

New Horizons

Hero of the East


At the Emperor’s Pleasure

Return of the Lionheart

Lackland Supreme

John Softsword

Triumph and Catastrophe

Lackland Undone

Part III – Age of Opposition (1204–1263)

Salvaging the Wreck

A Stay-at-Home King

A Cruel Master

Beginning of the End

To Bouvines

Magna Carta

Securing the Inheritance

From Marshal to Magna Carta

Kingship at Last

Marriage and Family

Holy Kingship

The Road to War

The Provisions of Oxford

Part IV – Age of Arthur (1263–1307)


From Imprisonment to Evesham

The Leopard

King at Last

A New Arthur

The Final Stand

The King’s Castles

The Price of Conquest

The Expulsion of the Jews

The Great Cause

War on All Fronts

The Conquest of Scotland

Crisis Point


Part V – Age of Violence (1307–1330)

The King and his Brother



The Ordinances


Summer of Promise


New Favourites

Civil War

The King’s Tyranny

Mortimer, Isabella and Prince Edward



False Dawn

Part VI – Age of Glory (1330–1360)

Royal Coup

Glorious King of a Beggared Kingdom

New Earls, New Enemies

The Hundred Years War Begins

Edward at Sea

The Crisis of 1341


The Death of a Princess

Chivalry Reborn

Decade of Triumph

Part VII – Age of Revolution (1360–1399)

The Family Business

Unravelling Fortunes

The Good Parliament

New King, Old Problems

England in Uproar

Return to Crisis

Treason and Trauma

The Reinvention of Kingship

Richard Revenged

Richard Undone

Richard Alone