The Gunpowder Plot
The 1605 Gunpowder Plot is one of the best-known events in British history, commemorated on 5 November each year. This book re-evaluates the evidence about the origins, depth and extent of the plot. It profiles the conspirators, including Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes, and examines their backgrounds, aims and objectives. It follows their trial and execution, and reveals for the first time how close they came to overthrowing the government.
Nelson's Lost Jewel
The Extraordinary Story of the Lost Diamond Chelengk
After the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Sultan Selim III presented Horatio Nelson with a chelengk – a diamond-studded turban ornament, its central star rotated by clockwork. Worn in the admiral's hat, it became his emblem. This book tells the story of its creation, and how it passed down through the family to be exhibited at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where it was stolen in a 1951 burglary and never seen again.
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.
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.
Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace
By the autumn of 1536 Henry VIII had broken with Rome and was eyeing the wealth of the monasteries. In the north of England, 30,000 men loyal to the Catholic Church took arms against him in the uprising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Using the rebels' own testimony, this history examines their motives and beliefs, traces the course of the ill-fated insurrection, and describes the rhetoric, bribery and retribution employed by Henry's minister Thomas Cromwell to overcome them.
The Tudors in 100 Objects
Beginning with a silver-gilt boar, the emblem of Richard III, retrieved from the site of the Battle of Bosworth and Henry Tudor’s victory, John Matusiak sets himself the task of ‘recreating Tudor England through the medium of 100 objects’. Arranged by theme, and unravelling the stories behind objects as diverse as a birthing chair, a velvet sun mask, a chimney and an executioner’s axe, the book is a fascinating exploration of the social and material world of Tudor times.
The Life and Rule of England's Nero
In this compelling study of Henry VIII, the Tudor historian John Matusiak takes a fresh approach to the king’s reign, concentrating on Henry’s qualities – or lack of – as a ruler, rather than the usual business of his six wives, to paint a colourful and unforgiving portrait of a man wholly unfit for power.
Happy and Glorious
The Revolution of 1688
Less than 30 years after Charles II was restored to the throne, his brother James II was forced to make way for his son-in-law, William of Orange. Describing momentous days that shaped the nation's future, this narrative history tells of a stubborn and bigoted king at odds with his subjects, of religious conflict and political intrigue, and shows how the Revolution of 1688 created a constitutional monarchy and paved the way for modern parliamentary democracy.
Bess of Hardwick
First Lady of Chatsworth, 1527–1608
Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608) struck some as rapacious and social-climbing, but is nowadays seen as an astonishingly shrewd and accomplished woman who successfully managed four husbands and four monarchs in a particularly complex and dangerous era. Mary Lovell's biography charts every aspect of Bess's long life, including her time as minder of Mary, Queen of Scots for Elizabeth I and the building of Chatsworth, Hardwick and Oldcotes, which still stand as testimony of a remarkable Tudor figure.
The First Three Centuries
The city founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and variously known as Sankt Peterburg, Petrograd and Leningrad has been home to some of Russia's greatest cultural figures, including Pushkin, Tchaikovsky and Nijinsky. Well known too for its physical appearance, with baroque palaces, bridges and promenades, the city nonetheless suffered depredations in the 1905 Revolution and the Nazi siege. Arthur George, who lived in St Petersburg for several years, charts the high and low points of this most European of Russian cities. Off-mint.
Masters and Servants in Tudor England
Life in Tudor England was ordered in a very strict social hierarchy, and the divisions between the classes were firmly maintained: it was understood that everyone, apart from the monarch, served someone, and service was valued rather than denigrated. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, Tudor expert Alison Sim investigates the role of service at every level of society, and provides an informative and entertaining account of the lives of the people who kept the wheels of daily life turning.
Lady Jane Grey
Nine Days Queen
As the great-niece of Henry VIII, Jane Grey was a pawn in the power game of Tudor politics. The dying Edward VI made Jane his heir and, on 6 July 1553, aged 16, she became queen. Her reign lasted nine days: when Mary Tudor claimed the throne, Jane was sent to the Tower and beheaded in 1554. In this compassionate biography, Plowden tells the story of a gifted, scholarly girl, doomed by her royal blood.
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England
How Our Ancestors Lived Two Centuries Ago
Drawing on contemporary sources including diaries, letters, newspapers and trial proceedings as well as Jane Austen's own correspondence and writings, Roy and Lesley Adkins have created a wide-ranging and richly detailed social history of English life in the early 19th century that offers new perspectives on the world of the great novelist. Covering everything from childbirth, education and work to the darker side of Georgian society, poverty and crime, the book provides an illuminating companion to Austen's novels.