Stephen Spinks is currently writing a medieval suite of books that explores the dramatic lives and court politics of early fourteenth century Britain. Author of two books, ‘Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance’ and ‘Robert the Bruce: Champion of a Nation’, his work is being enjoyed by people all around the Globe.
Written with full academic integrity, yet accessible to all, he writes with a pacy style that keeps the reader engaged throughout. Whether you are new to history, revisiting it after years away, or are a seasoned history buff, these books will take you on a journey that will delight and surprise you, as myths, legends, and hearsay are swept aside against the use of rich compelling contemporary evidence.
Reviews of ‘Edward II the Man’
Anonymous Amazon Customer (January 2018)
‘Beautifully written , in depth, well-researched book. Full of intriguing facts and detail that add to uncovering a hitherto completely unknown aspect of our history to me. A lot to get through, so I haven’t finished it yet, but I honestly don’t want it to finish!’
Joseph Harris (Amazon, 2018)
‘A superbly written and accessible account of Edward’s life and reign. The author presents a balanced and fair view of not only Edward’s career as king but also on his character that highlights both his strengths and his weaknesses. Edward II ultimately failed as a king and Stephen Spinks does not try to deny that, but he does highlight the fact that he was far from the incompetent and foppish figure we’ve seen him popularly portrayed as.
Additionally, the book has a rich appendix, colour illustrations and a complete bibliography for those who are keen for further reading on Edward’s life. This is a wonderful debut for Stephen Spinks, and I will be looking out for anything he may write in the future. Highly recommended’.
Robert the Bruce: Champion of a Nation
Hardback author signed first edition (£20) +£3.99 p&p
Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance
Hardback author signed first edition (£20) + £3.99 p&p
Edward II is one of the most controversial kings of English history. On numerous occasions he brought England to the brink of civil war.
Author Stephen Spinks argues that Edward and the later murdered Piers Gaveston were lovers, not merely ‘brothers-in-arms’. Influenced by successive royal favourites, and with a desire for personal vengeance, his rule became high polarised and unstable. His own wife took a lover and invaded his kingdom resulting in his forced abdication; the first in British history. Edward’s prevailing legacy remains the warning that all kings can fall from power.
And yet…war, debt and baronial oppression before 1307 ensured that Edward II inherited a toxic legacy that any successor would have found almost impossible to wrestle with. Stephen Spinks explores that legacy using a wide breadth of contemporary and later sources. By focusing on Edward’s early years as much as on the reign itself, and exploring the conflicting influences of those around him, Stephen shows the human side of this tale against a backdrop of political intrigues, betrayals and revenge. He peels back the layers and seven hundred years of opinion to reveal the man who wore the crown. Edward’s belief in his unchallenged right to rule, increasingly at odds with those at his court, and his undeniable thirst for revenge, creates a 14th-century tragedy on a grand scale.
Robert the Bruce is a man of both history and legend. In his lifetime he secured Scottish independence in the face of English imperial aggression under the successive leadership of Edward I and Edward II. He was the victor of Bannockburn, a self-made king against all odds, and is celebrated as a champion of the Scottish nation. Yet Robert’s colourful life is far from straightforward. Stephen Spinks seeks to examine this most enigmatic of kings beyond the myths to reveal him in the context of his time, his people and in his actions.
Stephen shows that Robert was a complex man, confronted by hardships and difficult and often dangerous decisions. He was not born to rule. As the murderer of John Comyn, a rival for the Scottish crown, Bruce sent shockwaves across Europe and was condemned by kings and popes. In war he suffered terrible personal loss, including the deaths of all four of his brothers and the imprisonment of his wife, daughter and two sisters, all at the hands of the English. He was at times a desperate yet focussed and highly determined man. Robert was also astute, breaking the rules of chivalry to even the odds, systematically fighting a guerrilla war against the English which he ultimately won. Yet he also cultivated the symbols of kingship, was pious, careful with his patronage and fought to uphold his fiercely held beliefs.
King Robert unified his deeply divided kingdom and secured its independence from England. His dramatic life as the victorious underdog forged a significant legacy that has survived for 700 years.