Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Henry II conquered the largest empire of any English medieval king. Yet it is the people around him we remember: his wife Eleanor, whom he seduced from the French king; his son Richard the Lionheart; Thomas Becket, murdered in his cathedral. Who was this great yet tragic king? For fans of Dan Jones, George R. R. Martin and Bernard Cornwell.

The only thing that could have stopped Henry was himself.

Henry II had all the gifts of the gods. He was charismatic, clever, learned, empathetic, a brilliant tactician, with great physical strength and an astonishing self-belief. Henry was the creator of the Plantagenet dynasty of kings, who ruled through eight generations in command of vast lands in Britain and Europe. Virtually unbeaten in battle, and engaged in a ceaseless round of conquest and diplomacy, Henry forged an empire that matched Charlemagne's.

It was not just on the battlefield that Henry excelled; he presided over a blossoming of culture and learning termed the 12th-century Renaissance, pursued the tenets of reason over religious faith and did more to advance the cause of justice and enforce the rule of law than any other English monarch before or since. Contemporaries lauded his greatness and described him as their Alexander of the West.

And yet it is the people around him who are remembered: his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he seduced away from the French king; his sons Richard the Lionheart and John; Thomas Becket, murdered in his cathedral. Henry so famed during his lifetime has slipped into the shadows of history. 

King of the North Wind offers a fresh evaluation of this great yet tragic ruler. Written as historical tragedy, it tells how this most talented of kings came into conflict with those closest to him, to become the most haunted.

©2018 Claudia Gold (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about King of the North Wind

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

I loved this book. Insightful, well researched and brilliantly told. The sentences at times, can be short, and creates a pithy, staccato listening. This doesn’t detract from the story telling or the historical wealth being shared.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The' I Claudius' of British History

This is a fascinating story of a dynastic saga. Some of the situations and relationships are truly remarkable and some of the characters, Elanor of Aquitaine, the Empress Matilda, Henry...all wonderfully evoked.There is a lot of information about this period. The foundering of The White Ship, for example, is a tragic, and cataclysmic event that, if we were to see it played out in Emmerdale or Eastenders, would have us all screaming at our TV's at how implausible it all is.
But this single event precipitated a crisis that changed the course of British and European history.
I love this period of British history. It is amazing. But I have a huge problem with the narration. There is no passion. I want to be swept up in the saga and drama of the story. I want to become emotionally invested in the people I am hearing about. Instead, I feel as if I am attending a lecture delivered by a very eminent, if dusty, professor who just wants me to learn.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

informative and well woven history

I really enjoyed listening to this. the author has done a fine job of compiling the story of Henry the 2nd's reign within a thin veil of theatre supported by muses of contemporary chronicles. The narrator also did an excellent job and has a soothing voice empathetic to the characters he portrays, thereby helping the listener to step into the world of the Plantagenets.

My only criticism would be a general one of modern historians who fail to portray the true horror and evil of ancient nobility by applying reverence to their histories and elevating the status of such monsters. For example in summarising the heinous act of King John who is alleged to have killed his nephew Arthur and thrown his young body into the River Seine, it is not made clear to the reader that this act of murder is nothing out of the ordinary for such murderous people who were responsible for the murder, maiming and torture of thousands of people and the genocide of tens of thousands more throughout their histories. It seems it is only nobility that can be murdered and the killing of non-nobility is described as people just being treated badly or slaughtered as if they were beasts. There is a detailed and extremely interesting description of the way Henry II was responsible for implementing a formal rule of law. however what's not given any weight at all is the fact that this rule of law didn't apply to the masses who were effectively just slaves as far as I can gather. Surely an author is complicit if they fail to provide a sociological context and treat the memory of monsters with the contempt they deserve. There really is nothing honourable about the histories of the clergy, papacy and aristocracy from these times; they were thieves, rapists, child molesters and mass murderers to name but a few of their heinous crimes. But that is just a general point on revising our treatment of writing history in the same way that black history and references to non-white people in histories is rightly being corrected.

Having said all that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you are interested in the history of Henry the 2nd I highly recommend it.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

references

I can't find any bibliography for this book and it is pretty useless without one - can anyone tell me where I can find bibliographies and notes for audible books please?