Free Audiobooks Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England –

In This Vibrant Biography, Acclaimed Author Alison Weir Reexamines The Life Of Isabella Of England, One Of History S Most Notorious And Charismatic Queens Isabella Arrived In London In , The Spirited Twelve Year Old Daughter Of King Philip IV Of France Her Marriage To The Heir To England S Throne Was Designed To Heal Old Political Wounds Between The Two Countries, And In The Years That Followed She Became An Important Figure, A Determined And Clever Woman Whose Influence Would Come To Last Centuries Many Myths And Legends Have Been Woven Around Isabella S Story, But In This First Full Biography In Than Years, Alison Weir Gives A Groundbreaking New Perspective

10 thoughts on “Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England

  1. says:

    Is this primarily a book of history or biography History is the answer There is not enough reliable information to draw conclusions about Isabella s personality Diaries and many personal letters do not exist We can learn about what Isabella has done, but we can only make reasonably good guesses regarding her motivations, wishes and feelings Her thoughts can only be guessed at There exist widely divergent views of Isabella What you will be told depends upon whom you ask and when they were asked Clearly, the author is knowledgeable and her research is thorough, but on closing the book I am dissatisfied after reading all these pages I still don t really have a grip on what made this woman tick I have learned a lot, so I ll have to be satisfied with that My three star rating is not a criticism of the author, it is merely my personal reaction to the book.Isabella 1295 1358 was born in France Her father was King Philip IV, her mother Joan I of Navarre She arrived in England at the age of twelve, only to discover that her husband, Edward II, was homosexual and infatuated not with her but with Piers Gaveston That was just the beginning of her troubles The Despensers, the Elder and particularly the Younger, followed In 1325 her marriage with Edward was crumbling, as were the relations between France and England She travelled to France to mediate Once there, she began a relationship with Roger Mortimer, and the two planned to depose Edward and the Despensers Well, she was mad and she was jealous, but there were also sound reasons for why Edward should be deposed There is no denying her actions were traitorous Isabella has come to be known as the She Wolf of France Is this warranted In the book s introduction, Alison Weir states that her intention of the book is to rehabilitate Isabella She feels how we have come to see her is unwarranted Such an attitude doesn t promote a balanced exposition of the facts She does reveal both positive and negative attributes, but her overall premise is too dominant Sometimes I found myself questioning the conclusions drawn The author refers to previous sources, claiming that their views had been wrong Too often, too little explanation is given Not being an expert myself, I was left unconvinced and unsure of whose version to believe.I see Isabella as both intelligent and manipulative Skilled in the art off diplomacy and covetous of wealth and power That she was considered shamelessly adulterous is both true and a judgment of her time Today we are much lenient on such matters Whether it is correct to denounce her for murder and regicide is hard to determine from today s vantage point and with 100% accuracy There are so many details in this book For an ordinary reader it gets a bit heavy The author goes on and on and on for pages and pages to make her point clear.and even then I still was not always convinced One example is her strong belief that Edward II was not murdered, that he instead escaped from prison That with tine, even his son seemed to draw this conclusion is only somewhat convincing I remain unsure I listened to the audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat I have given the narration four stars She reads clearly and slowly, giving you time to absorb the immense amount of information provided and time to jot down notes She pronounces English and French accurately As pointed out, this is basically a book of history The people referred to are many Beside Isabella, the following are the most important I have put the links here for easy reference Piers Gaveston 1284 1315 2nd Earl of Lancaster 1278 1322 3rd Earl of Lancaster 1281 1345 the Younger 1286 1326 the Elder 1261 1326 Despenser War 1321 1322 I 1239 1307 II 1284 1327 III 1312 1377 Mortimer 1287 1330 Ist Count of Hainault 1286 1337 of Hainault 1314 1369 Bruce 1274 1329 is not my favorite by Alison Weir I do not recommend the author s books of fiction, but I do recommend these The Life of Elizabeth I 4 starsThe Six Wives of Henry VIII 4 starsThe first is my favorite because I really got to know Elizabeth as a person, not just as a queen.

  2. says:

    This is undoubtedly well researched but in typical fashion, Weir sets out to recuperate her subject and to read her through sympathetic modern eyes I agree that Isabella is fascinating, but to whitewash her as an innocent victim of first a gay husband who didn t love her, and second a dominant, rash, greedy and self serving lover doesn t do her any favours Mortimer might well have been all these things and , but Isabella, daughter and sister to three kings of France, queen of England and Regent to her son, Edward III, was no easy pushover to say that everything bad that happened to her can be written off as the responsibility of the men in her life makes her horribly passive, something not borne out by the sources.Ah, the sources it s hard to write this kind of biography with confidence when the sources themselves are unstable Weir rightly points out that they re fictionalized, dramatized, politically biased, written after the events on hearsay and rumour, and perpetuate ideological views Despite that, too often this book reads them as straight especially when they support the author s own vision I was troubled throughout by the homophobic slant which dismisses Edward II as immoral and a corrupt ruler firstly, there s no firm evidence that he had sexual relationships with his male favourites secondly, slurs of sexual immorality are often coded ways of representing failures in other spheres in classical and other pre modern texts It s especially disheartening to see the author herself use anti gay rhetoric in describing Isabella s lover she says he appears to have been everything that Edward II was not strong, manly, unequivocally heterosexual, virile, courageous, audacious and decisive , implying the opposite qualities adhere to anyone not unequivocally heterosexual It s not just off putting but also bad history.But there s good stuff here, too Weir s analysis of the sources in relation to Edward II s death is excellent as she compares the various versions and looks at where and when stories of the infamous red hot poker emerge, giving them the kind of comparative reality check that I d have liked to have seen of elsewhere in the book.So this can be a bit dry in places but with the caveats noted remains a good popular overview of Isabella.

  3. says:

    I m really not sure what to think of this book Alison Weir attempts to tackle the subject of Isabella of France, Edward II s French wife, and one of the unusual queens in English history Historically portrayed as an evil, grasping, adulterous woman who becomes a corrupt tyrant, Weir turns her subject into a feminist hero who saves England from Edward II Weir admits early on she approached this not liking Isabella and wanted to portray her in a sympathetic light, but by the end, she drank her own kook aid The problem with all of this is the simple fact that Isabella is all of the above and Like most historic figures particularly powerful queens she had her positive and negative aspects, and instead of confronting this fact, and examining the figure in a historical context, Weir s narrative is all over the place without ever really going anywhere She obviously has a bias towards Saint Isabella, but she doesn t really ever offer firm proof for that conclusion, and as often as not, she actually undermines her own not very clearly stated argument The work starts out with Isabella the victim, married to evil Edward II, and utterly helpless as he bungles his rule of the country Unfortunately Weir manages to skim over much of that in favor of the trendy historian game called Guess what I found some household account books As a result, we hear much about every time Isabella traveled a few miles and spent the night, or every time she spent 2p on stockings, than about the actual historical events at this point during English history, which is quite silly This is the slowest part of the story Then the book shifts to Isabella as the avenging angel who takes back the country, in theory for her son, but mostly in my reading because she wanted to try ruling What follows is a long section in which every good aspect of ruling is Isabella s wonderful reign, but every bad aspect ie virtually everything is somehow the fault of every man around Isabella Around this time, it becomes painfully clear that Weir is somehow unironically painting a picture of a ruler much worse than Edward II while trying to make it sound like everything isn t quite so bad as it sounds Then at the age of 35, it s all over, and the nearly three decades remaining of Isabella s life are mostly skipped over as Weir readily admits she only found two account books I recall learning in a freshman history class that, when you can t find a source that neatly does your research for you ie most of the time then you look to other sources to piece together a picture of what happened I guess Weir was absent that day.I was also a little surprised at some of the anti gay language in this piece Generally speaking, I m very tolerant of this sort of thing in history and honestly can t recall than a few times in thousands of books that something actually made me pause, but I was particularly taken aback by the comment that when Edward consummated his marriage with Isabella, he finally played the man Really Comments like this are sprinkled throughout this book It isn t all terrible, however In spite of Weir s aimless wanderings through the material and clear axe to grind, the work is interesting than one would imagine It isn t great by any means, but it isn t the worst history writing I ve encountered Even impressively, there is considerable confusion and controversy as to when and how Edward II died either murdered naturally due to ill treatment in England when he was supposed to have died, or as a monk in Europe decades later Weir handles the whole thing very clearly and adeptly She argues for the monk theory which I personally find questionable but manages to make discussions of this complicated issue the most well written and clearly communicated aspect of this whole adventure.

  4. says:

    Weir s premise, that Isabella has been demonised throughout history and therefore merits a objective analysis, was what interested me in this Unfortunately, in trying to rehabilitate the subject, it goes way too far in the other direction This was a terribly biased biography, in fact I would describe it as hagiography, completely with purple prose describing Isabella and Mortimer s relationship which Weir posits as having been sexual while this is widely assumed to be the case, there s no actual evidence of it , and offensively homophobic comments about Edward II and his close relationships with Piers Gaveston, Hugh Despenser etc Observations such as Mortimer was everything Edward II was not manly, virile, unequivocally heterosexual did not read merely as reflections of contemporary attitudes, but appeared to stem from authorial bias What was even disturbing though was the whitewashing of Isabella, and presentation of her as a tragic victim she is represented as a strong, independent woman except when she does something unpalatable, and then she s the pawn of unscrupulous men This strikes me as a very paternalistic analysis I can t recommend this, I m afraid.

  5. says:

    I have a soft spot for historical females figures whom receive negative attention Perhaps it is my feminist qualities coming out to play Whatever the nature of my interest, I have read several books on Queen Isabella Being that Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors, this was a double whammy for me.With names running through my head Piers Gaveston, the Despensers, Roger Mortimer , I began reading to a much detailed beginning of the book In fact, at times it was too detailed and lost my attention In the beginning, Weir stresses that that not too much is known about Isabella s early life so what does she really have to write about Resources were limited Weir goes on to descibe that Isabella s exact birth year is unknown but Document X said this and Person Y said that, so her age must be Z It was a bit too much in the beginning You know what I heard in my head The Peanuts teacher, Wa wa wa waa wa wa Further, this over detail was evident when describing state rooms and palaces I understand setting the scene but excessive descriptions on the rooms and additions to castles and manors isn t necessary and loses my attention Despite the early over detail, smaller storylines were mentioned which to some may be considered tangents but to me were interesting such as the adultery of Isabella s sisters in law to her brothers and the rumors that Edward II was a changeling per John of Powderham Do I smell tpoics for historical fiction books The first major revealing piece of information is the false cry of historian Agnes Strickland that Isabella began an affair with Mortimer in 1321 This is false because he clearly opposed the King and Despensers while Isabella supported her husband This claim of Strickland s is based on the false date of Princess Joan s birth What does all this mean That Weir successfully debates claims made by comtemporary sources which added to the negative perceptions of Isabella Weir disputes traditional claims against Isabella citing that certain accusations against her were never brought against her during her time and thus, were a creation of biographers and propagandists These arguments of Weir s could have been slightly stronger but were still convincing What people need to understand about Isabella and her actions was that due to the Despensers, Isabella s incomes were drastically cut which is an insult to her royal person and even her household was cut back merely because of Hugh s thirst for power and fear that Isabella would join forces with her brother King of France against Edward II She was treated like a mere pensioner and of course wasn t going to accept that When she was sent to France let us stress that since Edward was the initial securer of her passage she wasn t alone She was surrounded by disenfranchised English lords and exiles but she is made out to be singular in rebellion like it was a personal battle with Edward, her husband Does anyone stop to think that Edward II was merely siding with the Despensers It doesn t matter if he didn t thing Hugh was wrong or not, significant others would always pick the wife first People may ill conceive Isabella but truth be told, most of England supported her and when the King would order gates to be shut to her, cities would open them Hers was a supported and bloodless coup, aside from the 6 deaths of Despenser and some of his followers She was not as bloodthirsty as portrayed.Weir also debunked rumors that Isabella fled to France with Roger Mortimer because there is no proof which asserts her having any relations with him until after December 1325, at which point they were both already in France individually The books presents many letters in whole which add to the argumentative properties Surprisingly, the book wasn t overly biased and allowed you to make your own mind up regarding whether Isabella was driven to actions or was an evil woman Method claims were also disputed that Edward II s murder from sources, dates, errors in continuity, etc For example, if a plot was believed that he was suffocated and tortured, screaming how could he scream in agony if chroniclers claim he was suffocated with heavy pillows Plus, modern medicine says it would have taken 5 days for him to die under such duress versus immediately as claimed Basically, Weir does a terrific job looking at the situation with a investigative eye versus just bias or rumor She also mentioned the rumors that Edward II escaped and that Edward III later met with him.Weir also detailed Lady Mortimer, daughter Eleanor who married Reginald II, and the creation of the Order of the Garter These were interesting details that certainly deserve books of their own.Overall, this was a terrific book which investigatively presents the truth behind Isabella and seeks to help rehabilitate her It does take some time to pick up speed and at the end, you may find herself done with it but it is certainly a strong piece Perhaps not as strong as Weir s Lady in the Tower or Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder fo Lord Darnley but still worth a read for royal history lovers I think it could have been slightly stronger in Isabella s field though Weir may have tried to too hard to be unbiased and thus lost some oomph.

  6. says:

    I know it took me a long time to finish this book, but that has nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with life circumstances I always enjoy Weir s books and this one was no exception She has a lively, engaging style and always finds something new, fascinating, and convincing to add to the history of the subjects of her books.

  7. says:

    This is the best of the Alison Weir books I have read, and the others are 5 star books as well The beginning part develops the characters, the later part is reportorial Weir concludes with a summary of Isabella s role as a revolutionary.Isabella clearly defied the narrow female role of her times, but her revolutionary role, in my view, was accidental It was not the confiscation of land of the nobles, nor the suspension of habeas corpus that motivated her, it was the suspension of her revenues and it seems to a lesser extent, her forced separation from the crown prince.She was clever in networking with the many who had grievances against Edward II, and wise in her pardoning her adversaries and paying her supporters Weir guides us towards blaming Mortimer for the re institution of confiscatory policies I m not convinced As a woman in this time, Isabella surely needed male support and advice Perhaps he steered in the directions she wanted to go.Medieval England is barbarous, in many ways The descriptions of the hangings anesthetize the reader to the ultimate burial of Isabella.There are incisive descriptions of the relationships with Scotland, France and other continental courts, and the church These narratives contribute to making the book than just a good read for the lay reader.

  8. says:

    Okay, so during the 14th century, this 12 year old French queen from the most royal house in Europe marries King Edward II, a suspected homosexual and weak willed English monarch, only to be mistreated, ignored and eventually deprived of her status, children, lands, and inheritance What is a woman to do Well, this bad ass dame sneakily returns to France, begins a scandalous affair with her King s mortal enemy, and then invades England and easily deposes her husband and makes her son king.You can t make this stuff up This is a great piece of history that it seems has been largely ignored by the masses Alison Weir delivers a compelling saga of Queen Isabella Recommended to history buffs and anyone who is impressed with strong, successful and tenancious females.

  9. says:

    Isabella of France was the wife and dutiful queen of Edward II who turned into a notorious rebel At one stage, she was celebrated for ridding England of her unpopular and increasingly tyrannical husband and his favourite, Hugh Despenser But her own rule alongside her own favourite, Roger Mortimer, was just as inept and unpopular as Edward II s and history remembered her as a she wolf and femme fatale Alison Weir attempts to discover the woman beneath the legend in Isabella She Wolf of France, Queen of England.Weir says in her introduction that when she set out to begin this book, she did not much like Isabella, but through her research she found a woman that could be admired and celebrated Thus, her purpose in writing this biography is to rehabilitate Isabella s reputation It s a noble goal undoubtedly, misogyny has coloured and veiled our perception of Isabella, flattening her into a two dimensional villain But Weir s approach goes too far in the opposite direction and her Isabella remains just as flat as a result Her Isabella is a victim of her neglectful husband, Edward, and her masterful lover, Mortimer, and the narrative feels blatantly unbalanced.Isabella is the only notable strength behind Edward II s reign She is perceptive and possesses the quicker wits His follies are entirely his own and unsympathetically rendered His tyranny is because he is a weak, blind man concerned with his own pleasures In Edward III s minority, where power is wielded by Isabella and Mortimer, Isabella is a victim of circumstance and blinded by her lust or love for Mortimer Her follies are entirely the result of her being in thrall to and dominated by her lover, her tyranny is because of her impossible situation, and thus her responsibility for her own actions is greatly diminished I suppose it may be true that Isabella was so lust addled that she just happily went along with everything that Mortimer wanted, signed off on his tyranny and didn t care when he threatened her son s life, but I doubt there is much evidence for such an interpretation and it begs belief that the smart, rational, perceptive Isabella suddenly loses her abilities because she has, in Weir s opinion, a decent sex life at long last.This was entirely disappointing for me I m fascinated by Isabella, not because of the narrative that Weir perpetuates that she was the victim of a neglectful husband who found love, or at least good sex and revenge, with her saviour, Mortimer, who then takes the rap for all her bad decisions but because it is obvious that she and Edward II once deeply cared about each other before everything went downhill into disaster land I don t believe in innocent victim Isabella I believe in a complicated Isabella who was likely both victim and villain Even leaving aside the question of the narrative, Weir s grasp of history seems fairly weak A number of her statements are simply ludicrous Her suggestion that Hugh Despenser raped Isabella is complete and utter speculation built on the flimsiest of evidence that is, Despenser wished to dishonour her by every possible means and one of the two works she cites as backing up her argument is a literal work of fiction The discussion of Isabella s affair with Mortimer and how much of it was public knowledge is extremely convoluted When Weir discusses their affair beginning in France, she gives the impression that everyone knew, including the English involved in their rebellion But later, Weir claims that they were so discrete in England, that no one knew Even, presumably, the English that had travelled with them from France Weir then has the Earl of Kent s discovery of their affair be a deciding factor in the Earl of Lancaster s actions of rebellion against Isabella and Mortimer, even though, Weir says, Lancaster never used it against them because he didn t want to damage Edward III s conflict with France And, honestly, I was just lost I couldn t keep track with how it was open knowledge in France, but not England, how Lancaster knew but didn t want to use it against them because it would jeopardise their conflict with France but then French knew but didn t use it against Edward III I also absolutely failed to understand what Weir claimed happened to Edward II in 1327 and beyond It has been theorised by some historians that Edward II did not die in 1327, murdered on the orders of Roger Mortimer and possibly Isabella, as was traditionally believed, but instead his death was faked and he eventually ended his life as a hermit in Italy Ian Mortimer is probably the most notable historian who has advanced this theory and believes that Edward s escape was engineered by Roger Mortimer, who then held him in captivity Weir argues that Edward did indeed escape, but Mortimer and therefore Isabella was not involved This is fair enough, but she doesn t present an argument for why Mortimer was not involved and fails to explain what Edward was doing after his escape in any satisfactory manner, leaving me to guess why he didn t try to reclaim his throne or make contact with anyone, before he went and lived in Italy.The way Weir discussed Edward II s sexuality left me deeply uncomfortable I will be generous and assume that Weir was not aiming to be blatantly homophobic and wrote, instead, from a place of ignorance Yet her discussion often stunk of homophobia Edward II and Piers Gaveston are said to be capable of normal sexual intercourse because they fathered children, thus implying that homosexual sex is abnormal Edward II is said to have at last played the man when he consummated his marriage to Isabella, thus implying that masculinity and manhood are inherently linked to heterosexual sex an attitude that is also found when Weir describes Mortimer as everything Edward II wasn t, including manly and virile Further, Weir suggests Edward II s sexuality and romantic sexual relationships with men as an insult to Isabella s femininity It may well be that Isabella, in a historical context that saw sexual relations between men as a sin against God and nature, believed Edward s intense, likely sexual relationships with Gaveston and Despenser were deeply unnatural and insults to her, but there is no reason for Weir to parrot such views without challenging them.To round off the homophobia, Weir seems to espouse that view that Edward II not having sex with Isabella was a grave insult to her and that, regardless of his personal feelings on the matter, he should just act the man and have sex with her as a sop to her feelings Because, apparently, Isabella s desire for sex should always trump Edward s right not to have sex in Alison Weir s world To be positive, I found Weir s actual prose writing quite good It was engaging and readable and never too heavy I definitely found Isabella to be a quicker, easier read than Weir s Katherine Swynford The Story of John of Gaunt and His Scandalous Duchess Weir also provides plenty of rich detail for the historical novelist, such as descriptions and inventories of Isabella s clothes and residences But this little compensation overall for such a shoddy work of historical biography.

  10. says:

    My biggest complaint with Alison Weir is that she typically tries to impose 21 century attitudes on her subjects and fails abysmally at truly explaining the medieval mind and thought processes.She attempts to redress the viciousness of the She Wolf of France title that Isabella earned from the chroniclers of her lifetime I do believe there was a certain amount of bias involved but what she and Mortimer did was overthrow an anointed monarch and then wholeheartedly engage in the biggest medieval land grab of the fourteenth century Not even Edward II and Hugh Despencer had the audacity to dispossess so many widows and heiresses At least Despencer stuck to consolidating his hold on the Wales marches, but Isabella did not care where or who it was, if there was a vulnerable widow or heiress, she stepped right up and used threats, coercion and force to enrich herself When her son deposed Mortimer, Isabella had co opted over 2 3 of the royal lands for her personal revenue and added to that as much as she could from widows, attained nobles and unmarried heiresses over 1 3rd of the country and the country at that time was only about 130,000 square miles the US is 3.7 million miles in comparison This was no 14th century women s liberator crusading for the ladies and children This woman was a devoted student of her father Phillip the Fair of France the man who brought down a Pope, moved the Papacy to Avignon putting it in his personal control and destroyed the Knights Templar, debased his own currency multiple times thus harming his lower classes and destroyed his own nobles in pursuit of yet money and power She also came from a mother who had no problems leading armies against her vassals and if there is one word to describe to Issy it would be ENTITLEMENT she was queen by right of god so she should have it if she wanted it Weir tries to insinuate that Despencer either raped or tried to force a three way between Edward, herself and Despencer and I find that scenario fairly ludicrous Hugh Despencer co opted HER revenues and lands so she had a vastly reduced income and this totally pissed her off Despencer s wife Eleanor became one of Edward II most beloved companions and rumors abounded for years that their relationship was beyond familial and this also displaced Isabelle as Edward s advisor and councilor, which she had been in the years between Gaveston and Despencer Kings have mistresses lovers all the time, her own French court has a specific royal position for the King s mistress and the position was rarely vacant What Issy resented was the loss of what she felt was her due rights, powers and prerogatives What she failed to understand was that in France, the law is whatever the King wants, in England, the king is bound to the law in order to stay enthroned There is no evidence that Hugh Despencer and Edward were lovers, it far plausible to think that Despencer loaned out his wife to Edward I think Piers Gaveston was the love of Edward s life and while their relationship may have been sexual, a modern reader needs to understand that who you slept with if you were a man in the fourteenth century did not really matter it was a case of who penetrated who and for obvious reasons a King in a militarized society better be doing the penetrating William Rufus William the Conqueror s son and the 2nd Norman king of England , openly preferred men and never married and yet because he was a great war leader nothing is really mentioned about it The King just had unusual tastes The accusation of sodomy was a very common propaganda tool thrown out whenever one side wanted to goad the other, and since sodomy could mean anything other than the missionary position, the accusation isn t a lot to go on What is evident is that Edward II had no interest in ruling, nor had he any map of kingship in his head He looked like a king, he was tall, broad and highly athletic, he slept with women and had illegitimate children but his father was always off fighting wars, his mum died when he was 6 and so he really had no tutor in kingship and was a disaster at strategic warfare, ruling bored him and riding herd on his Baron s was not his idear of a good time Medieval Kingship is really all about a cult of personality, the King has no standing army so the King has to be able to use personal force and charisma to control his Barons lots of gifts and rewards help a bunch too, but Edward II just did not do this He tended to latch on to one person and in his devotion, let that person take huge advantage of the kingly position This willingness to let his favorites take over the hated chores of ruling was probably what led to the accusations that he was catching rather than pitching and that just isn t acceptable in a 14th century military society whose other members are elitist aristocrats and really don t want all the prizes going to a low ranked sharply witted knight one step above a peasant Edward II was intelligent, pious, athletic and a good dad but he really was a lousy King for the time period, he just couldn t intimidate his barons enough Edward s ruling persona really bothered Isabelle, HER dad ruled with a sledgehammer and a whip and she couldn t see why Edward didn t Then when her status and revenues are cut she did have enough to live on, she certainly wasn t starving and her place by Edward s side is usurped by the Despencer s, Issy starts plotting to get even and does so brilliantly That she is able to accomplish this and initially give herself excellent press and be hailed as the Savior of England is a credit to her intelligence and determination I wholly respect that, but to present her as an early women s libber fighting for justice for herself and her children is really just to much to swallow I think of her as a remarkably adept student of her parent s lessons and a charismatic character who was able to bend a nation to her will for a little while at least, and that is no mean feat for anyone man or woman.I would also recommend Ian Mortimer s The Greatest Traitor The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327 1330 and also his Edward III The Perfect King for another, and in my opinion better researched even though I don t agree with his Issy analysis take on the rule of the Edward s in 14th century England.