Penguin monarchs

Every ruler portrayed

William II Stephen Henry V WilliamIV

By some of today’s most remarkable historians in beautiful hardback editions.

William II

William II
The red King

William II (1087-1100), or William Rufus, will always be most famous for his death: killed by an arrow while out hunting, perhaps through accident or perhaps murder. But, as John Gillingham makes clear in this elegant book, as the son and successor to William the Conqueror it was William Rufus who had to establish permanent Norman rule. A ruthless, irascible man, he frequently argued acrimoniously with his older brother Robert over their father’s inheritance – but he also handed out effective justice, leaving as his legacy one of the most extraordinary of all medieval buildings, Westminster Hall.

Author: John Gillingham
Format: Hardback
SBN: 9780141978550
Size: 129 x 186mm
Pages:128
Published: 27 Aug 2015
Publisher: Allen Lane
Penguin Monarchs

Stephen
The age of anarchy

Stephen

Known as ‘the anarchy’, the reign of Stephen (1135-1141) saw England plunged into a civil war that illuminated the fatal flaw in the powerful Norman monarchy, that without clear rules ordering succession, conflict between members of William the Conqueror’s family were inevitable. But there was another problem, too: Stephen himself.
With the nobility of England and Normandy anxious about the prospect of a world without the tough love of the old king Henry I, Stephen styled himself a political panacea, promising strength without oppression. As external threats and internal resistance to his rule accumulated, it was a promise he was unable to keep. Unable to transcend his flawed claim to the throne, and to make the transition from nobleman to king, Stephen’s actions betrayed uneasiness in his role, his royal voice never quite ringing true.
The resulting violence that spread throughout England was not, or not only, the work of bloodthirsty men on the make. As Watkins shows in this resonant new portrait, it arose because great men struggled to navigate a new and turbulent kind of politics that arose when the king was in eclipse.

Author: Carl Watkins
Format: Hardback
SBN: 9780141977140
Size: 12″x 18″
Pages:128
Published: 27 Aug 2015
Publisher: Allen Lane
Penguin Monarchs

Henry V

Henry V
From Playboy Prince to Warrior King

Henry V’s invasion of France, in August 1415, represented a huge gamble. As heir to the throne, he had been a failure, cast into the political wilderness amid rumours that he planned to depose his father. Despite a complete change of character as king – founding monasteries, persecuting heretics, and enforcing the law to its extremes – little had gone right since. He was insecure in his kingdom, his reputation low. On the eve of his departure for France, he uncovered a plot by some of his closest associates to remove him from power.
Azincourt was a battle that Henry should not have won – but he did, and the rest is history. Within five years, he was heir to the throne of France. In this vivid new interpretation, Anne Curry explores how Henry’s hyperactive efforts to expunge his past failures, and his experience of crisis – which threatened to ruin everything he had struggled to achieve – defined his kingship, and how his astonishing success at Azincourt transformed his standing in the eyes of his contemporaries, and of all generations to come.

Author: Anne Curry
Format: Hardback
SBN: 9780141978710
Size: 129 x 186mm
Pages: 160
Published: 27 Aug 2015
Publisher: Allen Lane
Penguin Monarchs 

WilliamIV

William IV
A king at sea

William IV, ‘the Sailor King’, is best known for his naval career and for living for twenty years with the actress Mrs Jordan, with whom he had ten children. Knight’s book shows that William was pretty much a disaster in whatever field he found himself.

Author:Roger Knight
Format: Hardback
SBN:9780141977201
Size: 12″ x 18″
Pages: 112
Published: 27 Aug 2015
Publisher: Allen Lane
Penguin Monarchs