William II, or William Rufus, son and successor to William the Conqueror is most famous for his death- killed by an arrow while out hunting - was it accident or murder? Although few kings of England lived through a more turbulent period or faced a more testing legacy, when struck down he was at the height of his power, so successful in overcoming his enemies in both France and England that, as a contemporary critic complained, 'even the wind and the sea appeared to obey him'. As this compelling biography shows, our image of Rufus has been coloured by early accounts of his reign, composed by monks who were critical of his attitude to religion, his extravagance, humour and alleged sexual preferences. Here John Gillingham cuts through their words to bring this enigmatic figure out of father's shadow and reveal him as one of England's most effective warrior-kings.
About the Author
John Gillingham is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the London School of Economics. His books include a biography of Richard I, The Angevin Empire and The English in the Twelfth Century.
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