The Hollow Crown is the second book that I have read by Dan Jones (and I have just bought his new book Power and Thrones which I am very much looking forward to reading), the first being the Plantagenets, which I fully enjoyed.
Having also watched his series Great British Castles (many times) which he wrote for, I was happy to find that his presenting style was similar to the style of his writing and it made for a very familiar, comforting experience.
Whereas the Plantagenets was on, you guessed it, the Plantagenet time period of the Royal Family, The Hollow Crown follows on from this and focuses on the time from Henry V (5th) to Henry VII (7th), briefly touching on Henry VIII (8th).
When I got the book, I originally thought that it would focus on the time directly around the War of the Roses between Richard III and Henry Tudor, but, as Jones explains, there was a lot more build up and prolonged context to that one standoff between the two kings of England.
It was interesting to read this book and the time period described within it, mostly because when people think of the Tudors, they think about Henry 8th and Mary and Elizabeth. Not many people pay mind to where that branch of the Royal Family came from and how they ended up on the throne – because it wasn’t quite as plain sailing as one fight and direct lineage, there was a lot of bad rulers, shady dukes and family fights involved – as one would expect of nobility in the middle ages.
It was also interesting to see the details that they never really go into detail on within school textbooks or documentaries – and that is how the governments at the time had to deal with running the country alongside a useless or distant, young or sickly king and how they split up who had what responsibilities within the land. And how much of an impact petty squabbles within the court could turn into full blown wars that kept the country in turmoil.
But, without giving too many spoilers, it was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed as I enjoy Jones’s writing style and the way that he mixes facts and opinions of the time with a hint of humour or modern hindsight. The topic of historical royalty is one that has always intrigued me ever since I needed to write an essay on Elizabeth I in primary school. Just how messy the problems within these powerful families were and how much backstabbing and sneaking around (as well as political exiles) made for a very entertaining period of history and Dan Jones makes it just as fascinating to read.