The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

 

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The bestselling author of The Plantagenets and The Templars and presenter of Netflix’s Secrets of Great British Castles offers a vivid account of the events that inspired Game of Thrones and Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Richard III

Discover the real history behind The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, the PBS Great Performance series of Shakespeare’s plays, coming December 2016, staring Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sofie Okenedo and Hugh Bonneville.

The crown of England changed hands five times over the course of the fifteenth century, as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. In this riveting follow-up to The Plantagenets, celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest-reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors.

Some of the greatest heroes and villains of history were thrown together in these turbulent times, from Joan of Arc and Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt marked the high point of the medieval monarchy, to Richard III, who murdered his own nephews in a desperate bid to secure his stolen crown. This was a period when headstrong queens and consorts seized power and bent men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this dramatic narrative history revels in bedlam and intrigue. It also offers a long-overdue corrective to Tudor propaganda, dismantling their self-serving account of what they called the Wars of the Roses.

“If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors then Dan Jones’ swashbucklingly entertaining slice of medieval history will be right up your alley… Every bit as entertaining and readable as his previous blockbuster The Plantagenets.” – Daily Express

Editorial Reviews
Review

Praise for The Wars of the Roses

“Exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history. There are battles fought in snowstorms, beheadings, jousts, clandestine marriages, spurious genealogies, flashes of chivalry and streaks of pure malevolence. . . .Jones’s material is thrilling, but it is quite a task to sift, select, structure, and contextualize the information. There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skillful piece of storytelling.”
—The Sunday Telegraph

“Jones’s greatest skill as a historical writer is to somehow render sprawling, messy epochs such as this one into manageable, easily digestible matter; he is keenly tuned to what should be served up and what should be omitted. And he still finds rooms for the telling anecdote and vivid descriptive passage. It makes for an engrossing read and a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to the Lancastrian-Yorkist struggle.”
—The Spectator

“If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors then Dan Jones’ swashbucklingly entertaining slice of medieval history will be right up your alley… Every bit as entertaining and readable as his previous blockbuster The Plantagenets.”
– Daily Express

“Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency, he shows this calamitous conflict unfold.”
—The Evening Standard

“Jones tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favor among so many historians. . . He admits that the era is at times incomprehensible, yet he manages to impose upon it sufficient order to render this book both edifying and utterly entertaining. His delightful wit is as ferocious as the dreadful violence he describes.”
—The Times (London)

“A fine new history . . . Tautly structured, elegantly written, and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age, The Wars of the Roses is probably the best introduction to the conflict currently in print.”
—The Mail on Sunday

“It’s not often that a book manages to be both scholarly and a page-turner, but Jones succeeds on both counts in this entertaining follow-up to his bestselling The Plantagenets. . . He sets a new high-water mark in the current revisionism of the Tudor era.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Jones authoritatively sets the scene for the 15th-century succession crises . . . valiantly pared down for fluid readability.”
—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author
Dan Jones is the author of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queen Who Made England, a #1 international bestseller and New York Times bestseller, and Wars of the Roses, which charts the story of the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty and improbable rise of the Tudors. He writes and presents the popular Netflix series “Secrets of Great British Castles” and appeared alongside George R.R. Martin in the DVD for Game of Thrones to discuss its historical antecedents. He is also the author of Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty and Summer of Blood: England’s First Revolution and is working on a history of the Knights Templar due out in September 2017.

Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty Paperback

Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty Paperback

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“Dan Jones has an enviable gift for telling a dramatic story while at the same time inviting us to consider serious topics like liberty and the seeds of representative government.” —Antonia Fraser

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets, a lively, action-packed history of how the Magna Carta came to be—by the author of The Templars

The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles—even its language—can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status?

Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agreed to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king’s high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries.

Jones’s riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta’s creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unexpected afterlife. Reissued by King John’s successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits to the exercise of royal power. It established the principle that taxation must be tied to representation and paved the way for the creation of Parliament.

In 1776 American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king and to demand even more far-reaching rights. We think of the Declaration of Independence as our founding document but those who drafted it had their eye on the Magna Carta.
Editorial Reviews
Review
“Lively and excellent.”
—The New York Times

“By putting the Magna Carta in its proper historical context, the brilliant young historian Dan Jones triumphantly answers the questions he poses in his Introduction, about how it came to be granted, what it meant at the time, and what it should mean to us today.”
—Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Napoleon

“Excellent and very well-crafted.”
—The New York Review of Books

“Dan Jones has an enviable gift for telling a dramatic story while at the same time inviting us to consider serious topics like liberty and the seeds of representative government.”
—Antonia Frasier

“Lively and clear-eyed.”
—The London Review of Books

“An insightful, satisfying history of a beloved. . . icon of freedom.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Wars of the Roses

“Tautly structured, elegantly written, and finely attuned to the values and sensibilities of the age . . . The best introduction to the conflict currently in print.”
—The Mail On Sunday

“Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war. With gripping urgency he shows this calamitous conflict unfold.”
—The Evening Standard

“Edifying and utterly entertaining. . . Jones tells a good story . . . His delightful wit is as ferocious as the dreadful violence he describes.
—The Times (London)

Praise for The Plantagenets

“A real life Game of Thrones, As dramatic and blood-soaked as any work of fantasy. Like the medieval chroniclers he quarries for juicy anecdotes, Jones has opted for a bold narrative approach anchored firmly upon the personalities of the monarchs themselves yet deftly marshaling a vast supporting cast of counts, dukes, and bishops. . . . Fast-paced and accessible, The Plantagenets is old-fashioned storytelling and will be particularly appreciated by those who like their history red in tooth and claw. Jones tackles his subject with obvious relish.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“Outstanding. Majestic in its sweep, compelling in its storytelling, this is narrative history at its best. A thrilling dynastic history of royal intrigues, violent skullduggery, and brutal warfare across two centuries of British history.”
—Simon Sebag Montefiore, bestselling author of Jerusalem: The Biography

“Jones has brought the Plantagenets out of the shadows, revealing them in all their epic heroism and depravity. His is an engaging and readable account—itself an accomplishment given the gaps in medieval sources and a 300-year tableau—and yet researched with the exacting standards of an academician. The result is an enjoyable, often harrowing journey through a bloody, insecure era in which many of the underpinnings of English kingship and ­Anglo-American constitutional thinking were formed.”
—The Washington Post

“Some of the greatest stories in all of English history . . . rich in pageantry and soaked in blood.”
—Lewis Lapham

“Delicious . . . Jones has produced a rollicking, compelling book produced a rollicking, compelling book about a rollicking, compelling dynasty, one that makes the Tudors who followed them a century later look like ginger pussycats. . . . The Plantagenets is told with the latest historical evidence and rich in detail and scene-setting. You can almost smell the sea salt as the White Ship sinks, and hear the screams of the tortured at the execution grounds at Tyburn.”
—USA Today

“Jones has written a magnificently rich and glittering medieval pageant, guiding us into the distant world of the Plantagenets with confidence. This riveting history of an all-too-human ruling House amply confirms the arrival of a formidably gifted historian.”
—Sunday Telegraph

About the Author
Dan Jones is the author of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queen Who Made England, a #1 international bestseller and New York Times bestseller, and Wars of the Roses, which charts the story of the fall of the Plantagenet dynasty and the improbable rise of the Tudors. He writes and presents the popular Netflix series Secrets of Great British Castles and appeared alongside George R.R. Martin in the official HBO film exploring the real history behind Game of Thrones. He was closely involved in the British Library’s landmark unification of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta to mark the charter’s eight hundredth anniversary. He is also the author of Summer of Blood: England’s First Revolution and is currently working on a history of the Knights Templar due out in September 2017.

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors

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An instant New York Times bestseller, this major new history of the knights Templar is “a fresh, muscular and compelling history of the ultimate military-religious crusading order, combining sensible scholarship with narrative swagger” – Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem

A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies.

Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since.

In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests.

A vindictive King of France set his sights on their fortune. He instructed his lawyers to mount a damning case against them, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. Then on Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and publicly humiliated. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.

Editorial Reviews
Review
“They combined the warrior code of aristocratic knights with the poverty and religious devotion of monks. …In Jones’s bravura account, this tension between aristocratic killer and humble monk shadows the Templar story. Jones’s fast-paced history is laced with tales of blood and bravery, disaster and victory. . . . Drawing on Christian and Muslim sources, he carries the Templars through the crusades with clarity and verve. This is unabashed narrative history, fast-paced and full of incident.” – The Sunday Times (London)

“In this thrillingly lucid account, Dan Jones demystifies the Templars in a story spanning hundreds of years and countless rulers, knights and archbishops, a seemingly disproportionate number of whom ended up beheaded . . . Anyone who has read Jones’s earlier medieval chronicles will know what to expect here: fast-paced narrative history depicted with irresistible verve, bloody battle scenes and moments of laugh-out-loud wit. There are contemporary parallels, too, with the Templars eventually being laid low by the medieval equivalent of a kind of ‘fake news’: anti-Templar propaganda spread by the church. This is another triumphant tale from a historian who writes as addictively as any page-turning novelist.”
–The Guardian

“Dan Jones has created a gripping page-turner out of the dramatic history of the Templars, from their spiritual warrior beginnings until their tragic destruction by the French king and the pope. It is genuinely moving and a chilling contemporary warning about the abuse of power through persecution and lies.”
— Philippa Gregory, author of The White Queen

“Gripping… Jones tells the story of the Templars with energy and verve, regalling readers with well-chosen details and anecdotes. The Templars became poster boys of the early middle ages, famed for their piety and their military prowess. It was an intoxicating combination… The author’s ambition, he says, is ‘to write a book that will entertain as well as inform.’ He has done precisely that.” – Peter Frankopan, The Telegraph

“This is a fascinating story of fanaticism, set in a land still known for its brutality and strife. ‘I have not strayed from my usual ambition, which is to write a book that will entertain as well as inform,’ writes the author. In that he has succeeded. Jones is certainly an entertainer, but also a fine historian who knows how to render serious scholarship into accessible prose. Seldom does one find serious history that is so easy to read.” — The Times (London)

“A fresh, muscular and compelling history of the ultimate military-religious crusading order, combining sensible scholarship with narrative swagger, featuring a cast of exuberantly monstrous sword swingers spattering Christian and Islamic blood from Spain to Jerusalem.”
— Simon Sebag Montefiore author of Jerusalem: The Biography

“The story of the Templars, the ultimate holy warriors, is an extraordinary saga of fanaticism, bravery, treachery and betrayal, and in Dan Jones they have a worthy chronicler. Templars is a wonderful book!”
— Bernard Cornwell, author of The Last Kingdom

“Thank God this book is sane… Jones’s latest book is more than merely sane. He tells the engrossing story of an ascetic order of warrior knights chiefly dedicated, at least at first, to the defense of pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem… Templars is based on a wide-ranging and thorough research and relies overwhelmingly on primary sources… It reads like a morality tale.”
– Robert Irwin, Literary Review

“Well-sourced history told in an easy, readable fashion. . . . An engrossing examination of a period whose conflicts are still reverberating today.”
—Publishers Weekly

“An up-close look at the legendary band of Crusaders. Jones examines the storied Templars, an organization of quasi-monastic warriors who rose to fame and power in the midst of the Crusades, only to rapidly collapse in questionable scandals . . . A meaty, well-researched history replete with primary source quotes [and] accessible to general readers. An exceptional introduction to the Templars.”
–Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“With engaging liveliness . . . Jones chronicles the Templars’ actual record of great military achievement, fiduciary responsibility, exceptional faithfulness, and lasting cultural significance.”
–Booklist

Praise for Dan Jones’s The Plantagenets:

“A real life Game of Thrones, as dramatic and blood-soaked as any work of fantasy . . . Fast-paced and accessible, The Plantagenets is old-fashioned storytelling and will be particularly appreciated by those who like their history red in tooth and claw.” —The Wall Street Journal

“The Plantagenets is rich in detail and scene-setting. . . . The Plantagenets’ saga is the story of how English monarchs learned, or failed to learn, how to be kings, and how the English people, commoners and barons alike, learned how to limit their powers.” —USA Today

“Jones has brought the Plantagenets out of the shadows, revealing them in all their epic heroism and depravity. His is an engaging and readable account . . . researched with exacting standards. [A] compelling reading.” —The Washington Post

“Outstanding. Majestic in its sweep, compelling in its storytelling, this is narrative history at its best. A thrilling dynastic history of royal intrigues, violent skullduggery, and brutal warfare across two centuries of British history.”
—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin

“Some of the greatest stories in all of English history . . . rich in pageantry and soaked in blood.”
—Lewis Lapham, Lapham’s Quarterly

“Dan Jones’s epic portrait of the medieval royals is a timely reminder that things haven’t always been so rosy for those on the throne.” —GQ

Praise for Dan Jones’s The Wars of the Roses:

“Exhilarating, epic, blood-and-roses history . . . Thrilling. There is fine scholarly intuition on display here and a mastery of the grand narrative; it is a supremely skillful piece of storytelling.” —The Sunday Telegraph

“An engrossing read and thoroughly enjoyable.” —The Spectator

“If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or The Tudors, then Dan Jones’ swashbucklingly entertaining slice of medieval history will be right up your alley. . . . Every bit as entertaining and readable as his previous blockbuster The Plantagenets.” —Daily Express

“Jones is a born storyteller, peopling the terrifying uncertainties of each moment with a superbly drawn cast of characters and powerfully evoking the brutal realities of civil war.” —The Evening Standard

“Jones tells a good story. That is a good thing, since storytelling has gone out of favor among so many historians. . . . His delightful wit is as ferocious as the dreadful violence he describes.”—The Times (London)

Praise for Dan Jones’s Magna Carta:

“Lively and excellent.”
—The New York Times

“Excellent and very well crafted.”
—The New York Review of Books

“Dan Jones has an enviable gift for telling a dramatic story while at the same time inviting us to consider serious topics like liberty and the seeds of representative government.”
—Antonia Frasier

About the Author
Dan Jones is the author of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queen Who Made England, a New York Times bestseller; Wars of the Roses, which charts the story of the fall of the Plantagenets and the improbable rise of the Tudors; Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty; and Summer of Blood. He wrote and presented the popular Netflix series Secrets of Great British Castles and appeared alongside George R. R. Martin in the official HBO film exploring the real history behind Game of Thrones. He is the historical consultant to Knightfall, a major new production from A&E Studios and The History Channel on the legend of the Templars, produced by Jeremy Renner and due to air in early 2018.