Stephen Spinks is author of ‘Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance’ – out 15 November 2017 – and available for pre-order in hardback by clicking here at Waterstones Amazon Foyles Amberley Publishing
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.
Review by Sara Cockerill, author of Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen
‘Stephen Spinks has made excellent use of the original sources and recent scholarship to spell out an engaging portrait of this complex and often misunderstood king. At the same time he has produced a lively and clear narrative history of a reign the relentless politics of which can often confuse’.