This part of a three volume history entitled The Pageant of England tells the story of the Plantagenet Kings from Henry II (though it starts with the civil war between Stephen and Matilda) up to the death of King John.
Costain was a historical novelist and this book was written in 1949; it is very much of its time. The narrative is told in broad strokes with little of the modern historian's care for close examination of alternative sources. It reminded me of A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens: much of the tales it tells serve either a romantic of a moral purpose. He has affectations: low grade priests are regularly referred to as 'shaven-polls' and he loves giving the correct words for parts of armour. But it is a good read.
A more historical account of these times (and a deeper and more fulfilling need even if it does 300 years in 600 pages) might be found in The Plantagenets by Dan Jones.
May 2015; 344 pages
- I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57