The Fears of Henry IV

The Fears of Henry IV

The Life of England's Self-Made King

Summary

From the saviour of the realm to the subject of multiple attempted assassinations in the space of six years. King Henry IV's reign was characterised by his fear and paranoia, but above all a continued quest for survival.

The son of John the Gaunt, Henry was seen as a confident, well-educated, generous, and spiritually fervent young man. And, in 1399, having ousted the insecure tyrannical Richard II, he was enthusiastically greeted as the new King of England.

However, therein lay Henry's weakness. Upon assuming the crown, he found himself surrounded by men who would only support him as long as they could control him. When they failed, they plotted to kill him.

Long characterised as a treacherous murderer for slaying Richard II, Henry IV's achievements as king have been played down throughout history. However, in this fascinating examination of his reign, Ian Mortimer revaluates what Henry managed to accomplish against all adversity as king. Provoking a social revolution as well as a political one, he took a poorly ruled nation into a new, Lancastrian dynasty, and, while perhaps not the most glorious king England has ever had, he certainly proves to one of the bravest.

'[Mortimer] has... a vivid historical imagination which lends colour and excitement to his pages' Literary Review

Reviews

  • [Mortimer] has an instinctive sympathy for the men about whom he writes, a real understanding of the mentalities of late medieval England, and a vivid historical imagination which lends colour and excitement to his pages
    Literary Review

About the author

Ian Mortimer

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