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King John

The brilliantly compelling new biography of the treacherous and tyrannical King John, published to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. King John is familiar to everyone as the villain from the tales of Robin Hood greedy, cowardly, despicable and cruel. But who was the man behind the legend? Was he truly a monster, or a capable ruler cursed by ill luck? In this book, bestselling historian Marc Morris draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to bring the real John vividly to life. John was dynamic, inventive and relentless, but also a figure with terrible flaws. In two interwoven stories, we see how he went from being a youngest son with limited prospects to the ruler of the greatest dominion in Europe, an empire that stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. We discover how, having lost most of his lands in France, he battled for the rest of his life to win them back. His rise to power involved treachery, rebellion and murder. His reign saw oppression on an almost unprecedented scale- former friends hounded into exile and oblivion; Wales, Scotland and Ireland invaded; harsh fines and huge taxes, the greatest leve
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Marc Morris's new bestseller: the definitive and brilliantly compelling biography of the treacherous and tyrannical King John. Published in the run-up to the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and written by a historian at the top of his game.

About the Author

Marc Morris is a bestselling historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. He studied and taught history at the universities of London and Oxford, and his doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk was published in 2005. In 2003 he presented the highly-acclaimed television series Castle, and wrote its accompanying book. His bestselling biography of Edward I, A Great and Terrible King, was published in 2008, with his widely-acclaimed history, The Norman Conquest, following in 2012.


"Fine, timely... jaunty, authoritative... Morris has already proven himself as a 13th-century royal biographer - his study of Edward I is a modern classic. He is on form here, too. His split-chronology approach to John's life before and after the loss of Normandy highlights just how disastrous it was for the king's reign and reputation." -- DAN JONES Sunday Times "Outstanding ... This is by far the best book on the monarch's reign since W L Warren's trail-blazing biography, King John, written in 1961 - with the literary bravura of which Morris' book may not unfavourably be compared." BBC History Magazine "An excellent and sardonic new biography of King John. It will delight all who enjoyed his books on 1066 and Edward I." -- TOM HOLLAND "A masterpiece of historical writing... Morris is a wonderful storyteller" TLS "A riveting and timely portrait of an execrable king" -- Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors "A compelling portrait of a king whose 17-year reign witnessed mass oppression on a huge scale... injected with a lively fluency... A fine reminder of the huge influence of Magna Carta that continues to form the basis of our freedoms even today." Express "[A] magisterial biography ... Will surely become the book of choice on this fated reign for years to come." BBC History Magazine "The John that emerges... is still a tyrant, but a more complex figure in a complex time. His importance for us, concludes the historian and broadcaster Marc Morris, is that "his oppressions led to the creation of a document that ensured they would not be repeated"." Sunday Telegraph

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