The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England, 1327–1330

Ian Mortimer, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $25.95 (377p) ISBN 978-0-312-34941-7

Roger Mortimer was an accomplished warrior under Edward II of England, then rebelled against his tyranny, escaped from the Tower of London, began an affair with Edward's estranged wife, Queen Isabella, invaded England with her and forced the king to abdicate. After effectively ruling England for three years on Edward III's behalf, Roger slipped into tyrannical rule and was overthrown by the young king. In this excellent companion to Alison Weir's new Queen Isabella , the author's archival experience is apparent in his deft handling of sources. Mortimer (a British historian with no relation to his subject) packs fascinating information and interpretation into a fast-paced and entertaining narrative. His accounts of battles, especially Bannockburn, flawlessly blend action, strategy, personality and background detail. Mortimer includes considerable analysis of Edward II's famously brutal murder, arguing that the king actually survived and lived some years after the attempt. While it's hard to argue against centuries of received opinion, Mortimer effectively addresses gaps in the known facts and bolsters recent recasting of the history of this violent era. 8 pages of b&w photos, 4 maps. (Mar. 9)

Reviewed on: 01/23/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-09-955222-2
Paperback - 377 pages - 978-0-7126-9715-6
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-4668-5139-9
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