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Nonfiction read 'The Plantagenets' chronicles a fascinating dynasty

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The Plantagenet dynasty of Great Britain was one of the most powerful, infamous and fascinating royal houses the world has ever known. The kingdom, founded by Geoffrey of Anjou, who inherited it from the Normans, was so vast at its peak the empire stretched from Scotland to Jerusalem. Dan Jones’ book The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, explores this brave, ambitious and often ruthless family who had such a huge impact on Britain and the world.

Some of the most famous and controversial figures in Britain’s history are profiled, including: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard The Lionheart, King John, Edward IV and Richard III. Monumental events took place during the reigns of Plantagenet kings such as the signing of the Magna Carta, the formation of Parliament, and the Hundred Years War. The Plantagenets ruled during England’s age of knights, chivalry, and great prosperity, as well as some of its darkest chapters like the first wave of bubonic plague.

Ironically, it seems that the Plantagenets were often their own worst enemy, with frequent infighting, members of the family heartlessly turning against one another to vie for power. The War of the Roses would eventually end this dynasty when the last Plantagenet ruler, Richard III, was struck down in battle by usurper Henry Tudor who married Edward IV’s heir, Elizabeth of York, and founded a new dynasty.

Dan Jones is also the author of Summer of Blood: The Peasants Revolt of 1381.


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