The King's Bed
Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II
Charles II was obsessed by women, and his conquests ranged across the classes, from the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocrat Barbara Villiers. For the first time, this revealing book places the king’s compulsive philandering at the centre of an account of his reign. Taking us behind the scenes, it introduces a colourful cast of court favourites, politicians and a parade of mistresses fighting for influence over a king ruled – and ruined – by his passions.
The Real Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes is among British history’s most recognizable figures, burned in effigy every November to celebrate the Gunpowder Plot’s failure. His early life is less familiar though, and so this biography focuses on his youth as a Protestant in York and the motivations that led him to fight as a mercenary and to plan mass murder for the Catholic cause, asking whether he was ‘a fanatic, a fool, or a freedom fighter’.
Crown of Blood
The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
In 1553, 17-year-old Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England to prevent the accession of Henry VIII’s Catholic daughter Mary. Thirteen days later she was imprisoned in the Tower, and in February 1554 she was beheaded. This narrative history draws on previously overlooked sources to create a vivid and engaging portrait of an intelligent, charismatic and deeply religious girl caught up in the power politics of her age, whose courage shone through her final, harrowing ordeal.
The Maker of Modern France
A proud, indomitable, absolutist monarch, Francis I (1494–1547) ‘was the king that his country needed, if not the one it might have wished for’, and despite his achievements – in unifying and glorifying France and as the patron of art and architecture who recruited Leonardo da Vinci to his court and built Fontainebleau – Francis is remembered, if at all, for his failings. In this biography, Leonie Frieda offers a rigorous reassessment of the ‘Maker of Modern France’.
The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
The son of a blacksmith, Thomas Cromwell has long been reviled as a schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power. He ended up as Henry VIII's right-hand man, and exercised enormous influence during some of the most momentous events in the country's history. This biography from the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces goes beyond the fiction of Wolf Hall to reveal the true story of this controversial, complex and fascinating figure.
A Revolutionary Life
Although familiar from Hilary Mantel’s fictional Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell (c.1485–1540) has proved an elusive subject to biographers. With this magisterial study, MacCulloch presents ‘the true Thomas Cromwell of history’, based on a meticulous study of his surviving papers. The biography pays particular attention to Cromwell’s early years and his rapid rise to power in 1532, the importance of his religious agenda and his efforts conceal that motivation, and the dynastic ambitions that contributed significantly to his fall. Slightly off-mint with felt tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Maker of Modern France
A proud, indomitable, absolutist monarch, Francis I (1494–1547) ‘was the king that his country needed, if not the one it might have wished for’, and despite his achievements – in unifying and glorifying France and as the patron of art and architecture who recruited Leonardo da Vinci to his court and built Fontainebleau – Francis is remembered, if at all, for his failings. In this biography, Leonie Frieda offers a rigorous reassessment of the ‘Maker of Modern France’. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe
As the Ottoman Empire reached its apogee and feudal Europe developed into national states, four dynamic rulers each shaped their domains – the English and French kings, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Sultan. With his characteristically colourful approach, Norwich discusses the achievements of these men and weaves their stories together to reveal how their relationships changed the continent. ‘Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, the four of them held Europe in the hollow of their hands.’
Anne Boleyn in London
Anne Boleyn was educated in France but in her early twenties she became a member of Henry VIII's court, which led to their ill-fated marriage and her imprisonment in the Tower. Lissa Chapman focuses on Anne's complex role in London society, as a fashion icon and arts patron who was fully engaged in religious and intellectual debates. Examining her contemporary reputation and image, the author casts a light on everyday life, gossip and politics in Tudor London.
The Army of James II 1685–1688
The Birth of the British Army
Credit for creating the British army often goes to Charles II or William III, with James II’s role in the organization of a viable, expanded institution overlooked. Ede-Borrett addresses this with a thorough, illustrated account of its development, drawing on royal archives and contemporary documents to detail its regiments, troops, uniforms, equipment, flags and other paraphernalia.
The Maligned Tudor King
Terry Breverton takes a fresh approach to Henry VII’s life and reign, following the king’s movements and describing his whereabouts, the people he was with and what he was doing to give a personal account of Henry and Elizabeth’s life. This is a more sympathetic portrait of the king than recent studies have offered, emphasizing Henry’s achievement in restoring peace and prosperity after the Wars of the Roses and securing for his son a peaceful succession and a solvent country.
Henry VIII's Closest Friend
The rapid rise of Charles Brandon to become Henry VIII’s most trusted and influential advisor alarmed his contemporaries and has puzzled historians. Reviewing the scant surviving evidence, this biography provides a chronological account of the career of this elusive figure. He held a succession of powerful offices, despite his controversial marriage to the king’s sister, disappointing military campaigns and suspicion that he spied for the French, and retained Henry’s favour to the last. Off-mint.
Rebel in the Ranks
Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts that Continue to Shape Our World
The modern separation of religion from other aspects of life is one of many unintended consequences of the Reformation that would have shocked Martin Luther. This study of the devout Augustinian friar and his influence sets Luther within his cultural and intellectual contexts to explain what he was trying to achieve. It then traces 500 years of epochal changes, from the Enlightenment to consumerism, which were caused by the resulting political and social upheavals across Europe. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Jamestown Brides
The Untold Story of England's 'Maids for Virginia'
In 1621 the near-bankrupt Virginia Company of London made a profit by shipping across the Atlantic 56 young women who had been hand-picked as brides for the planters of its new colony. Using archival sources including the company’s own records, Potter gives voice to these women, asking why they agreed to make the dangerous journey, how they adapted to their new lives, how they chose their husbands and what happened to them in the end.
The Murder of King James I
Even before James I’s death in 1625, rumours spread that he was being poisoned by a court favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, who had been cultivating the heir to the throne. Historians have long dismissed the charge, but in a detailed reassessment of contemporary sources the authors trace how this scandalous claim was widely published, believed and debated in Britain and beyond. They also examine how it both reflected and shaped political conflicts that would eventually lead to civil war.
Baroque Naples and the Industry of Painting
The Word in the Workbench
In a scholarly, richly illustrated study of the mid-17th-century Neapolitan art world, Marshall charts the links between the artisans, painters and dealers of this bustling city and its wealthy patrons and consumers of art. Among the topics examined are the working lives of artists, the process of buying and selling cabinet pictures, the rise of the exhibition, and the careers of successful artists such as Luca Giordano, Jusepe de Ribera and Massimo Stanzione.
The Warship Anne
Launched in 1678, the Anne was one of the ‘Thirty Ships of War’ constructed to double the strength of Charles II’s Navy. Having been lost at the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690, it is now one of the most important wrecks on England’s south coast. In this volume the ship’s technical historian explains Anne’s construction and specifications, follows its 1687 mission to the Mediterranean and discusses efforts to survey and preserve the wreck.
Catherine of Aragon
An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife
Catherine of Aragon has been remembered as a tragic figure, the woman Henry VIII divorced for want of a male heir. Amy Licence takes issue with this portrayal: her study presents neither a victim nor a divorcée, but a highly educated Spanish princess and a great humanist queen who, in the early years of her marriage, was Henry's advisor and his warrior. A portrait of a 'complex, passionate, unbreakable woman', the biography also upholds Catherine's unwavering conviction that her 'divorce' was invalid.
The Golden Reign of Gloriana
David Loades’s concise and richly illustrated study focuses on significant aspects of Elizabeth I’s life and reign and is structured around 20 manuscripts held in the National Archives, including letters to and from Elizabeth, her first speech as monarch, a report of the Armada and the queen’s letter acknowledging James VI of Scotland as her heir.
The Corruption of Power
The most significant Scottish politician of the late Stewart age and a man of great learning and ability, John Maitland (1616–1682), ‘King Lauderdale’, served on the Westminster Assembly and the Committee of Both Kingdoms and became Secretary of State for Scotland and a member of Charles II's 'Cabal'. Paterson’s study is both a balanced portrayal of Maitland and a lucid analysis of late 17th-century political life. Off-mint.
The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch
When Henry Tudor was crowned King Henry VII in 1485 his mother, Margaret Beaufort (1443–1509), became the most powerful woman in England. Margaret was 13 years old when Henry was born, shortly after the death of her husband, Edmund Tudor, and in the midst of war. It was an inauspicious beginning but her ambition, skill and determination won through to found a dynasty. Nicola Tallis’s new biography dispels the myths about Margaret and shows her life to be more remarkable than the many fictions it has inspired.
The House of Beaufort
The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown
A dynasty that originated in 1372 with the birth of John Beaufort, the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt, the Beauforts were loyal supporters of the Lancastrian monarchs. They amassed authority during the 15th century and ultimately claimed the English throne with the victory of Lady Margaret Beaufort’s son, Henry Tudor, at Bosworth. The Beaufort earls, duke and cardinals were ‘highly visible in the stories of others’; this study focuses on the rise and fall and rise again of this intriguing family.
True Stories from the Operators of the UK's First Four-Jet Bomber
The Vickers Valiant was the first of the RAF 'V bombers' to be developed to carry Britain's nuclear deterrent, and was used to drop both atomic and hydrogen bombs in tests in the late 1950s. Drawing on the personal memories of pilots and crew, this record of the aircraft’s service history includes descriptions of its work as a strike bomber, its engagement during the Suez Crisis, and its reconnaissance and in-flight refuelling duties in the early 1960s.
The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses that convulsed 15th-century England sprang from a family quarrel as fraught and intimate as any before or since. It is often viewed in terms of its male protagonists but, as this history makes clear, women played a key role, among them the Yorkist matriarch Cecily Neville; Margaret of Anjou, formidable wife of the mad King Henry VI; and Margaret Beaufort, whose ambition for her son ushered in the Tudor dynasty.
Lives in Letters
In chapters devoted to each monarch – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I – this is a narrative account of the Tudor period, told through 42 letters and documents in the British Library’s collections. From Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s autograph inscriptions in a prayer book, to a letter from Elizabeth I to James VI of Scotland in 1603, each item is illustrated in colour, fully transcribed and accompanied by a commentary setting it in historical context.
An Elizabethan Assassin
Theodore Paleologus: Seducer, Spy and Killer
John Hall explores the myths and controversies surrounding Italian nobleman Theodore Paleologus, heir apparent to the throne of Byzantium, who in 1597 arrived in England to murder a traitorous compatriot, then remained in the pay of the Earl of Lincoln to sow misery among the English aristocracy until his death in 1636. The biography also scrutinizes Paleologus’s offspring, who fought one another in the English Civil War, and backs their father’s long-dismissed claim to the imperial throne.
Hey for Old Robin!
The Campaigns and Armies of the Earl of Essex During the First Civil War, 1642–44
After failing to strike any decisive blow against the Royalists, Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, who commanded the first Parliamentarian army against King Charles I, never achieved military distinction. This account of Essex’s campaigns, which includes analysis of the battles of Edgehill, Lostwithiel and Newbury, reappraises the man and his reputation in the light of his military accomplishments, his strategic influence over the battles, and his loyalty to his men.
Margaret of York
The Diabolical Duchess
Reared in a dangerous world, Margaret of York was one of history’s great survivors. This biography tells how, from her Burgundian exile, she sought to avenge the overthrow of the House of York by sending pretenders to contest the throne of Henry Tudor. Slightly off-mint.
Puritanism and the Pursuit of Happiness
The Ministry and Theology of Ralph Venning, c.1621–1674
Against the familiar view of puritans as killjoys, this study reveals a neglected strand of puritan theology in the writings and pastoral work of Ralph Venning, an Independent divine who emphasized the importance of inner happiness and personal piety.
Anna, Duchess of Cleves
The King's 'Beloved Sister'
Born Anna von der Mark, Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, in 1515, Anna of Cleves married Henry VIII and became Queen Consort of England in 1540. British history remembers her as the ‘Flanders Mare’: looking from a German perspective, this biography reveals a very different figure. Heather Darsie describes Anna’s life in Cleves before leaving for England; examines her marriage to Henry, her role as stepmother to his two daughters, and her status as ‘political refugee’ after the divorce.
The White King
Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr
Reviled as a tyrant and canonized as a martyr, Charles I remains one of the most controversial of English monarchs, and he polarizes historians to this day. Drawing on previously unseen royal correspondence, Leanda de Lisle’s carefully researched history charts the tragic career of a flawed king, sets the Civil War in the context of the wider European conflict of the Thirty Years War, and highlights the crucial and often underestimated role of Charles’s wife Henrietta Maria.
The Other Exile
The Remarkable Story of Fernão Lopes, the Island of Saint Helena and a Paradise Lost
Napoleon Bonaparte was not the first exile to end his days on St Helena. In the 16th century, the Portuguese conquistador Fernão Lopes set out to invade India, only to defect to the Muslim side and fight his own countrymen. This compelling biography tells the long-forgotten story of how he was captured and tortured before jumping ship en route to his homeland to live as a hermit on the uninhabited island for 30 years.
To Catch A King
Charles II's Great Escape
In 1651, Charles II returned to England to reclaim the throne of his executed father, only to be crushed by the might of Cromwell’s armies at Worcester. Based on the account he gave of his adventures to Samuel Pepys, and the reports of others who assisted him, this history tells of his six weeks on the run, using deception and disguise, grit and good luck to evade capture.
The Sultan and the Queen
The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
Excommunicated in 1570, Queen Elizabeth I found the key markets of Catholic Europe closed to English merchants; instead, she reached out to the Shah of Iran, the King of Morocco and the Ottoman Sultan. This history reveals how English merchants, sailors and diplomats plied their trade with the Muslim world, creating a fashion for the Orient in London that was reflected in the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Last Ironsides
The English Expedition to Portugal, 1662–1668
As part of the marriage contract between Charles II and the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, Charles agreed to send three regiments, under the command of General Hermann von Schomberg, to support Portugal’s struggle for independence from Spain. Many of the troops were from Cromwell’s disbanded New Model Army. This history of the brigade and its expedition explores the politics surrounding the Portuguese Restoration War and recounts many of its battles, including Montes Claros.
Sisters to the King
The Tumultuous Lives of Henry VIII's Sisters – Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
Much has been written about the six wives of Henry VIII, but less attention has been paid to his two sisters. This groundbreaking volume restores these two women to their rightful place at the crux of European history. The book describes how Margaret became Queen of Scotland at 13, how her younger sister Mary was married to the ageing king of France, and how both, defying convention, chose their second husbands for love.
Young & Damned & Fair
The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII
This biography of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, who was queen consort for just 16 months, sheds new light on her story by describing the world that surrounded her both above and below stairs, and includes maps, charts and colour illustrations.
The Lady Penelope
Passion and Intrigue at the Heart of the Elizabethan Court
A muse to poets and descendant of royalty, the golden-haired Penelope Devereux was celebrated in the court of her godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, for being as quick-witted as she was beautiful. This biography charts Devereux’s political ascendancy in the court, her unhappy marriage to nobleman Robert Rich, her involvement in the rebellion to overthrow Elizabeth, led by her brother, the Earl of Essex, and her doomed love affair with Charles Blount, which ultimately led to her downfall.
The King Is Dead
The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII
The Acts of Succession (1536 and 1544) allowed Henry VIII to nominate his successors in his will: the result was one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Lipscomb re-opens the debate about its intended meaning, authenticity and validity. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
From curses to strategically timed bows that could signal disdain rather than deference, and outright violence exhibited across the social classes, Ruth Goodman explores the language and actions considered rude in the 15th and 16th centuries. Using anecdotes and examples from contemporary manuals, court cases and sermons, she demonstrates how unconventional behaviour can reveal as much about society as its norms, whether a subtle faux pas born of ignorance or a defiant snubbing of etiquette.