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The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish, and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne. Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, t The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish, and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne. Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, the elder of the Princes in the Tower. But the majority of these young men died in their teens, on the brink of manhood. They represent the lost paths of history, the fascinating "what-ifs" of the houses of York and Tudor. They also diverted the route of dynastic inheritance, with all the complicated implications that brings, passing power into unlikely hands. This book examines 10 such figures, using their lives to build a narrative of this savage century.


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The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish, and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne. Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, t The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish, and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne. Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, the elder of the Princes in the Tower. But the majority of these young men died in their teens, on the brink of manhood. They represent the lost paths of history, the fascinating "what-ifs" of the houses of York and Tudor. They also diverted the route of dynastic inheritance, with all the complicated implications that brings, passing power into unlikely hands. This book examines 10 such figures, using their lives to build a narrative of this savage century.

30 review for The Lost Kings: Lancaster, York Tudor

  1. 5 out of 5

    ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀

    "This book is about death and its impact but, even more so, it is about life. Life as an opportunity to be seized with both hands, to be fought for amid difficult and overwhelming circumstances, to be celebrated and exploited, valued and revered, in all its brutal brevity. Death is always of significance, in any era, but the concentration of these ten young losses fed into a complex process by which the dynasties of York, Lancaster and Tudor were redefined." In The Lost Kings, historian Amy Licen "This book is about death and its impact but, even more so, it is about life. Life as an opportunity to be seized with both hands, to be fought for amid difficult and overwhelming circumstances, to be celebrated and exploited, valued and revered, in all its brutal brevity. Death is always of significance, in any era, but the concentration of these ten young losses fed into a complex process by which the dynasties of York, Lancaster and Tudor were redefined." In The Lost Kings, historian Amy Licence examines the lives of ten young royals and the results of their premature loss, while avoiding speculation about what might have been if they had lived. It's difficult to write a biography, even a very short one, about people of whom so little is known. When medieval princes died in childhood or adolescence before they'd taken up the reigns of government or served their king successfully in battle, they didn't leave much behind. (The exception being Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII, whose childhood and brief reign are fairly well documented.) The author tries to create portraits of these young men using biographical information about their parents, and other relations, and discusses how their characters may have been formed by their religious beliefs and the culture of the time. Licence also provides a wealth of recent political history as background to childhood's taking place in a tumultuous era. She then goes on to describe the effect each death had on future events. What I enjoyed most about this book was the history and purpose of Chantry chapels, explanations of Catholic beliefs pertaining to the afterlife and the information about royal burials and tombs. Particularly fascinating were the Cadaver tombs. I happily spent a couple of hours Googling photographs of royal tombs and memorials from the period. With the changes brought by the reformation, it's easy to understand why people feared for the souls of departed family members since they were no longer receiving the prayers needed to get out of purgatory. No wonder there were rebellions. I do question the inclusion of Richard III's son Edward, Prince of Wales. In my opinion his death had no bearing on the events that followed. When Richard made the decision to take the throne from his young nephews and imprison them in the Tower, more violence was inevitable. Even if Edward had still been alive when his father was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, I don't think he would have stayed that way for long. The information within each chapter could have been better organized and some tighter editing to improve the focus of each chapter would make for more interesting reading. At times it felt like a bit of an info dump. I received this a copy of this book through NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne.  Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, the elder of the Princes in the Tower. But the majority of these young men died in their teens, on the brink of manhood. They r The century spanning the wars of the roses and the reigns of the Tudor kings was a volatile time of battle and bloodshed, execution and unexpected illness. Life could be nasty, brutish and short. Some met their end in battle, others were dragged to the block, losing everything for daring to aspire to the throne.  Some were lost in mysterious circumstances, like Edward V, the elder of the Princes in the Tower. But the majority of these young men died in their teens, on the brink of manhood. They represent the lost paths of history, the fascinating “what-ifs” of the houses of York and Tudor.  They also diverted the route of dynastic inheritance, with all the complicated implications that could bring, passing power into some unlikely hands. This book examines ten such figures in detail, using their lives to build a narrative of this savage century. The book focuses on 10 young men from the century and aftermath of the war of Rose's. Each of the 10 have a chapter dedicated to them, which is then has breaks, often of 1, 2 and 3 to break things up a bit. The chapters are long, most came up roughly an hour on my kindle, though a couple were much longer. The book is written in an easy and accessible manner. Although the author does quote from original and contemporary sources throughout the book, which could cause difficulties for some readers - with the old world spellings, etc. I have mixed feelings on this book, it wasn't what I expected, I found parts of it difficult and repetitive and enjoyed others. As the book states it focuses on the young men of the York and Lancastrian families, so it covers quite a lot of the war of the roses and the Tudor period. Which unfortunately means that we get quite a few info dumps to explain exactly what was going on at the time of the boys' boyhood. But considering at least 3 of the boys were a similar age, it then makes the narrative repetitive. There was also a heavy focus on death, funeral rites and wills, that seemed to be explored and repeated in every chapter. The author seemed to draw on random individuals to explain their wills and funerals, which did help to explain the eras views on life and death; but as most of them didn't seem to interact with any of the young men or their families, it just seemed unnecessary. But that being said, the parts of the book that focused on the young men and their lives. Their relationships with their parents, siblings, etc, was interesting. Also, the speculation of what they could have become and what their impact on history could have been, was very interesting, there just wasn't enough of it. A couple of sentences or a page and a bit, is not in my opinion so just not enough speculation for a book that is supposed to explore what history would have been like had all these young men survived or the path their lives had taken them been different.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    3 and 1 / 2 stars This book examines the loss of ten would-be kings of the Houses of York and Tudor from 1450 to 1550. They were ten young men who died either in battle, by illness or in one case under mysterious circumstances while he was being held in the Tower. An amazing story of “what if” is outlined in detail. I must take exception to Ms. Licence’s take on Catherine of Aragon’s dispute over her virginity at the time of Prince Arthur’s death. That fact was at debate yes, but the split with t 3 and 1 / 2 stars This book examines the loss of ten would-be kings of the Houses of York and Tudor from 1450 to 1550. They were ten young men who died either in battle, by illness or in one case under mysterious circumstances while he was being held in the Tower. An amazing story of “what if” is outlined in detail. I must take exception to Ms. Licence’s take on Catherine of Aragon’s dispute over her virginity at the time of Prince Arthur’s death. That fact was at debate yes, but the split with the Catholic Church was all Henry. It wouldn’t have mattered to Henry – really – if she were a virgin at the time of her marriage to him or not. He was upset at his failure to produce a living son after nearly twenty years of marriage to Catherine, and he wanted to marry Anne Boelyn. That was the reason for the split with Rome, not the argument over Catherine’s virginity. Perhaps Ms. Licence just did not go far enough in her explanation. The book is rich in detail about funerals, the attendants and the clothing of both the living and the dead. I found the inclusion of the nobility’s wills very interesting. The book is very well written and rich in historical data, facts and figures. It is written in linear fashion from 1450 or so through 1550. It is easily accessible for any reader whether a devotee of history or just someone who loves to read about this period in time. It was well footnoted. I would like to thank NetGalley and Trafalgar Square Publishing/The History Press for forwarding to me a copy of this book to read and enjoy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helen Carolan

    An excellent read,charting a period from medieval times through to the death of Henry 8th's son. This looks at how the fortunes of England's royal houses were changed through death,either by sickness ,battle or those who simply had the nerve to be in the way. Many I've read about in previous books,but some like Edward of Middleham,Richard 3rd's son who died young I had never even heard of.Due to space constraints Ms Licence was unable to give a lengthy biography to any of her subjects but what i An excellent read,charting a period from medieval times through to the death of Henry 8th's son. This looks at how the fortunes of England's royal houses were changed through death,either by sickness ,battle or those who simply had the nerve to be in the way. Many I've read about in previous books,but some like Edward of Middleham,Richard 3rd's son who died young I had never even heard of.Due to space constraints Ms Licence was unable to give a lengthy biography to any of her subjects but what is here is excellent.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Toni Kely-Brown

    The author covers 10 young royals who died either as young men or children during the Wars of the Roses and Tudor periods, and how their deaths impacted English history. I think a good understanding of the background to these time periods was needed by the reader to appreciate the impacts of their early deaths. It is always fascinating to think what could have been? I think that every time I read about King Harold and the Battle of Hastings! I enjoyed this book, particularly how the author also The author covers 10 young royals who died either as young men or children during the Wars of the Roses and Tudor periods, and how their deaths impacted English history. I think a good understanding of the background to these time periods was needed by the reader to appreciate the impacts of their early deaths. It is always fascinating to think what could have been? I think that every time I read about King Harold and the Battle of Hastings! I enjoyed this book, particularly how the author also included history about the religious beliefs about death, wills, burials and tombs – fascinating stuff!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)

    Interesting accounts of 10 would be Kings from the War of Roses through the Tudors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    Fortune's wheel doth constantly turn, and the turn of the wheel does not guarantee anything... Ten men, ten fortunes, ten ways that history could have been changed in ways that we can only imagine today. Looking back on the lives of the those who were cut short, the ramifications on the next generation can clearly be seen. Taking a look at the lives of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, Edward of Middleham, Edward, Earl of Warwick, Arthur Tudor, and more, we see the unraveling of things that could have bee Fortune's wheel doth constantly turn, and the turn of the wheel does not guarantee anything... Ten men, ten fortunes, ten ways that history could have been changed in ways that we can only imagine today. Looking back on the lives of the those who were cut short, the ramifications on the next generation can clearly be seen. Taking a look at the lives of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, Edward of Middleham, Edward, Earl of Warwick, Arthur Tudor, and more, we see the unraveling of things that could have been. While we can say "could have, should have" now, it was not as cut and dry in those days. The mortality rates were high, and infant loss was normal. But these were not infants cut down before their life started, they were young men on the verge of breaking onto the international scene. Whether by illness or death in battle, we can look back at their lives and picture "what might have been." Amy Licence does a great job in showing the dynamics of their lives, and of the lives of those around them. She fleshes out every aspect that she can find, while showing the courses that might have been open to them, had they lived. Henry Fitzroy was one of the most speculated characters. His father was setting him up for a bright future. Illegitimate or not, Henry VIII was determined that his son would have a glittering future, whether that be adviser to his future ruling children, or setting him up to be king in his own right. There are so many avenues that could have been taken, but death once again intervened, cutting short yet another life. I enjoyed this read. It was something that I found to be interesting, but also provokes a lot of thought. The "might have been's" are prevalent, that they really make you think what history would have held if these young men had been able to fulfill their full potential. The one downside to this book was that there are some heavy biases in the text. While I can say as a historian we all have our biases, this book comes out with them extremely heavy in many cases. I would have enjoyed the book a bit more had they been a little more muted.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Éowyn

    The Lost Kings of Lancaster, York & Tudor by Amy Licence might be better as The Lost Copy Editor. There were so many mistakes it was just laughable. You're trying to read something and stopping really frequently as brain is telling you something doesn't add up. I got so frustrated that even in the first chapter I started writing in amendments with a pencil! In fact the first chapter is itself a massive blunder - it's entitled Edmund, Duke (Sic) of Rutland! How could the son of James I die in 159 The Lost Kings of Lancaster, York & Tudor by Amy Licence might be better as The Lost Copy Editor. There were so many mistakes it was just laughable. You're trying to read something and stopping really frequently as brain is telling you something doesn't add up. I got so frustrated that even in the first chapter I started writing in amendments with a pencil! In fact the first chapter is itself a massive blunder - it's entitled Edmund, Duke (Sic) of Rutland! How could the son of James I die in 1598 when Elizabeth I was still on the English throne and he wasn't James I? Well, he didn't die until 1612, as I ascertained within seconds - if only someone here had done the same! The stuff about attitudes towards death and the impact of the deaths of these individuals was fairly interesting, but a lot of it was trying to squeeze complicated history into a relatively short space, which didn't do it justice. There are also rather large assumptions made without any particular evidence of reasoning. She goes on and on about Edward V being murdered, when in fact there isn't any evidence that would stand up in a court of law that he was killed by anyone. She apparently thinks that the Tyrell smothering story is 'most likely'. If she really believes that, there's a bridge I'd like to sell her......

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Lost Kings is a well researched story about ten men who had the potential to make an impact in English history from 1450 to 1550 as the king of England. While the subject of the book is about loss, the author provides interesting "what if" scenarios of these men had they not met their untimely deaths. Further, interesting bits of information about the clothing, mannerisms, wills, and military I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Lost Kings is a well researched story about ten men who had the potential to make an impact in English history from 1450 to 1550 as the king of England. While the subject of the book is about loss, the author provides interesting "what if" scenarios of these men had they not met their untimely deaths. Further, interesting bits of information about the clothing, mannerisms, wills, and military history of the time were also provided. I appreciated that this kind of information was provided as it gave me an opportunity to learn more about this era. I especially found the concept of the books of mannerisms and the information regarding wills interesting. There were times when I felt like the details would take away too much focus on the man being featured. I would have to remind myself which would be ruler I was reading about in the middle of some of the sections. Regardless, I appreciated the attention to detail about the men and felt the book was very well researched.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phil Syphe

    Sorry to say this didn’t engage me as I expected it to. I found my concentration wandering quite often, and didn’t read beyond the Earl of Warwick chapter, as the Wars of the Roses era was my main interest, yet my interest wasn't held strongly enough. I like the concept of the book, namely to group together several royals who died before their time, though somehow the execution didn’t match the conception. Also, at least three mistakes caught my eye. Most notable being, “William de la Pole, First D Sorry to say this didn’t engage me as I expected it to. I found my concentration wandering quite often, and didn’t read beyond the Earl of Warwick chapter, as the Wars of the Roses era was my main interest, yet my interest wasn't held strongly enough. I like the concept of the book, namely to group together several royals who died before their time, though somehow the execution didn’t match the conception. Also, at least three mistakes caught my eye. Most notable being, “William de la Pole, First Duke of Suffolk had been married as a child to Henry Tudor’s mother, Margaret Beaufort.” It was John de la Pole, Second Duke of Suffolk, who had his childhood marriage to Margaret Beaufort annulled. Second, it states that Richard III was 33 in the prelude to Bosworth, when he in fact died about three months before his thirty-third birthday. Third, “Lord Brackenbury” is named as one of the men who let Richard down at Bosworth. From the context, I assume this should’ve read "Lord Northumberland", as this earl did let the king down at Bosworth, yet he doesn’t receive a mention. The only Brackenbury I’ve ever heard of as fighting at Bosworth is Sir Robert Brackenbury, who was neither a lord, nor someone who let Richard down. Brackenbury fought in the vanguard and died on the field. These errors are careless and should’ve been avoided.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bryson

    Amy Licence's book is a fascinating examination of ten individuals who died before they could make their mark and yet it was their deaths that ultimately cemented their place in history. Licence explores the lives of each male who could have, if lived, been crowned King of England. There is a depth to Licence's study and when reading it is as though time lapses and the reader is transported back to learn about each man, their thoughts and feelings and their beliefs about their future. Their deat Amy Licence's book is a fascinating examination of ten individuals who died before they could make their mark and yet it was their deaths that ultimately cemented their place in history. Licence explores the lives of each male who could have, if lived, been crowned King of England. There is a depth to Licence's study and when reading it is as though time lapses and the reader is transported back to learn about each man, their thoughts and feelings and their beliefs about their future. Their deaths are detailed in an honest and humane way and the impact of their passing upon the ruling of England is explored. A fascinating, compelling book which explores ten forgotten individuals who each could have played an important role in the governing of England had they lived. Certainly a must read for anyone interested in the 'what ifs' of English history.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    It was a fascinating look at some of the lesser known and yet potentially important figures in history. There is less information on them available so it is definitely hard to make a full length novel about them. I feel like she tried to fill out the chapters with information about death and burial practices but it felt out of place and boring to have to wade through when I really just wanted to know about the men the book was supposed to be about. Maybe in another book titled "Death in the Rena It was a fascinating look at some of the lesser known and yet potentially important figures in history. There is less information on them available so it is definitely hard to make a full length novel about them. I feel like she tried to fill out the chapters with information about death and burial practices but it felt out of place and boring to have to wade through when I really just wanted to know about the men the book was supposed to be about. Maybe in another book titled "Death in the Renaissance" it would have been fitting but here it wasn't appreciated. I also found Dudley Guilford a strange choice and would have better understood if it were Darnley who married Mary Queen of Scots. He was at least in line for both thrones and had royal blood in his veins unlike Dudley who just seemed a random choice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    While the central post of this book were the 10 young men/children who died before their time and, by doing so, altered the course of English history, the book looks at a much bigger picture as well - addressing the beliefs surrounding death, preparing for it, honoring it, avoiding it. How the religion and its sea-changes affected everything... It also did a fairly decent job of helping me in the difficult task of keeping all of the Henrys and Edwards apart. English history is really quite litte While the central post of this book were the 10 young men/children who died before their time and, by doing so, altered the course of English history, the book looks at a much bigger picture as well - addressing the beliefs surrounding death, preparing for it, honoring it, avoiding it. How the religion and its sea-changes affected everything... It also did a fairly decent job of helping me in the difficult task of keeping all of the Henrys and Edwards apart. English history is really quite littered with them. ;)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    This book chronicles the lives and deaths of 10 would-be kings during the Wars of the Roses including the heartbreaking demise of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, the sudden death of Henry VIII’s heir Arthur Tudor and the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of the 12 year old King Edward V. Licence does well to explore the ‘what ifs’ had these young men survived and ascended the throne in an era where death was so prevalent among the young.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Hecker

    Forget this one. I would love to read another bok, but this option thing won't let me until I have written eighteen words. This book was very dry. Forget this one. I would love to read another bok, but this option thing won't let me until I have written eighteen words. This book was very dry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    An interesting topic - what if certain kings/almost kings had instead lived longer? A lot of speculating and the discussion got so detailed, I couldn't finish it... An interesting topic - what if certain kings/almost kings had instead lived longer? A lot of speculating and the discussion got so detailed, I couldn't finish it...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Full review can be found on my blog: https://wheretheresinktherespaper.wor... Full review can be found on my blog: https://wheretheresinktherespaper.wor...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A could of, would of, should of book about the ramification of the early deaths of people that were in line or would have been in line for the throne if they had not died due to illness or murder. For some reason the author chose to include information about funeral rituals of the time period which was interesting at times and dull at other times. There is some really interesting info included about people that tend to be either forgotten or glossed over in history. Worse a lot of these people h A could of, would of, should of book about the ramification of the early deaths of people that were in line or would have been in line for the throne if they had not died due to illness or murder. For some reason the author chose to include information about funeral rituals of the time period which was interesting at times and dull at other times. There is some really interesting info included about people that tend to be either forgotten or glossed over in history. Worse a lot of these people have been included in both fictional novels and more horrifyingly nonfiction, and given completely different histories, personalities, or just made into a scapegoat by writers in order to suit their own agenda or theory. I'm not sure of the accuracy of some of her comments, but there are some hidden gems of information here that would make for a good study for someone looking for a thesis or other writing project.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Clark

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kieran Extence

  21. 5 out of 5

    Douglas A.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gail Birks

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  26. 4 out of 5

    william price

  27. 5 out of 5

    Finuala

  28. 5 out of 5

    K

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Bontrager

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

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