Robert the Bruce
He is also researching and writing his second book; ‘Robert the Bruce: Champion of a Nation‘ which will be published by Amberley in Autumn 2019.
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.
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’.
Joseph Harris, reader on Amazon
‘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’.
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!’
Stephen Spinks regularly gives talks on Edward II and is happy to travel across the UK to do so. Talks usually last between 1-1.5 hours depending upon individual group requirements, with time allotted for group questions and answers.
Talk Title: ‘Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance’
‘The life of Edward II is a dramatic tale of love, politics, vengeance and survival against the odds. In the tumultuous times of early fourteenth century England, against a backdrop of war and baronial unrest, Edward II’s reign is highly polarised. Torn between the politics of reform and over-might vassals, the king fights for his lover Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, only to see Gaveston brutally murdered in June 1312. What happens next causes ten years of political upheaval, and only with the rise of the last and final favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger, does the king finally lose the support of his wife Isabella of France and the nobility at large. Facing rebellion and invasion, Edward’s ultimate fate – deposition – and an unprecedented bloodletting is not long in the coming. How did all this come about and was Edward really the man history has declared him to be? Even his ultimate fate is now under question. Was Edward really murdered in 1327? Stephen Spinks examines the Fieschi Letter and other surviving evidence surrounding the arguments that Edward II in fact defied his murderers, living on as a hermit in Italy until the early 1340’s.’
Standard Fee £85*
*May incur additional mileage costs at HMRC rate if travelling over 80 miles from Central Birmingham, West Midlands.
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