❴Reading❵ ➻ The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330 Author Ian Mortimer – Golanvideoagency.info
A Vivid And Dramatic Popular History Of This Feudal Lord, Rebel Leader And Dictator Of England King Edward II Was Murdered By The Lover Of His Estranged Queen Isabella, Sir Roger Mortimer This Biography Of Th Century England S Evil Genius Offers A New And Controversial Theory Regarding The Fate Of Edward II August first, 1323 Tonight is the feast of St Peter ad Vincula, or Saint Peter in Chains, the patron saint of the Tower of London There s quite a party going on in the hall of the royal palace the lieutenant in charge of the castle has passed out already in fact, quite a few of the attendees aredrunk than their usual, as if they all suddenly forgot how to hold their wine All except for the sub lieutenant, young Gerard d Alspaye who, strangely enough, has not had a drink But then, he knows what s in the wine As the revelers slip into unconsciousness at the feast, Gerard d Alspaye slips out of the hall and up the tower with a crowbar and a rope There, he begins to pry loose the ancient stones from their mortar to release his friend from his cell The prisoner, a rebel baron called Sir Roger Mortimer, had been arrested for defying King Edward II and his advisor and close friend Hugh Despenser Their autocratic rule of the country has turned many of the nobility against them, including the queen herself, which is probably how Mortimer found out about the plan to kill him later that month To save his life, his friends are breaking him out of the Tower of London None of them could know that by 1327, Mortimer will be the de facto ruler of England He will have Isabella, the King s own beautiful wife, as his ally Together they will conquer England and depose the king who imprisoned him One day, not so very far from now, Mortimer will be accused of murdering the exiled king at Berkeley Castle He will have to defend himself to his political enemies, including the son of the dead king But right now, he is only the prisoner in the tower, listening to the sound of Gerard d Alspaye s crowbar chipping away at the mortar as he widens the hole in the stone wall Even Mortimer himself does not yet know his fate, how he will conquer England or depose the King or what will happen on a certain night in the future at Berkeley castle He can see freedom through the hole and exile as well, but he cannot know that he will be the Greatest Traitor in English history. Another 5 star biography from Ian Mortimer I read The Perfect King , published in 2004, recently, and have now devoured The Greatest Traitor , published in 2003 So I ve gone against the chronology of history and the authors work.I can t recommend Ian Mortimer s two books highly enough The picture that has come down the centuries of Roger Mortimer as the power hungry traitor is shown here to be a very shallow understanding of the man.The Mortimer was a feudal lord simply caught up in the ruinous reign of Edward II and his favourites , firstly Piers Gaveston and then Hugh Despenser.Roger Mortimer s testosterone adrenelin fuelled life and career beats any Hollywood Errol Flynn character Merely a baron s son, he fought at Bannockburn, rose to Lieutenant and defeated the Bruce faction in Ireland Forced by the machinations of Despenser, he became a rebel, which ended with him incarcerated in the Tower of London In the nick of time, before the nick of an axe, he escaped, to be an exile in France He returns, as the lover of Edward s estranged Queen Isabella, and leads the first successful invasion of England since The Conqueror.If all that isn t enoughthat is when this fantastic story really takes off, with a medieval conspiracy theory of the deposed Edward II to beat them all The hidden truths are expertly laid before the reader with regard to the chronicles accounts of what happened at Berkeley Castle and after.The final climax comes with Roger Mortimer caught in a Catch 22 Unable to relinquish his hold on the centre of government, as protector of Edward III, fighting everdesperately to cling onto the reins of power, his Queen and his secrets.Perhaps I should have read Ian Mortimers two books in the correct order Either way they are both compulsive, unrelenting page turners. Mortimer was always going to have go that extra mile of horribleness for me to hate this book Maybe if he had written in a James Patterson flatness mixed with a Stephanie Meyer style that had Queen Isabella sitting across from Roger Mortimer sulking about who loved who the most, I may have thrown this book at a wall But lets be honest writing that badly about this kind of story would have taken too much effort The story of Roger Mortimer, Queen Isabella and poor Edward II is pure exquisite narrative It has everything you could want, the high Knight turned traitor then corrupt politician, the spirited vengeful Queen and her adulterous affair with said corrupt Knight, the weak King who could not hold on to his Kingdom with the whiff of pretty favourites whispering in his ear The young Prince having to make the decision to stand on his own two feet and rule England in his own right Power, sex, revenge, love, murder, love and greed, seriously whatcould a person want Roger Mortimer is an enigmatic figure in Medieval history, but beautifully fascinating Mortimer was able to track the motivations of all the players beautifully I could read about this period of Edward II reign over and over again, each character throws everything into a different light, and even though this was a biography on Roger Mortimer, the author Mortimer understands this completely.I am complete history nut, and this biography was like finding the good pure stuff It made me dizzy with happiness. I enjoyed reading this book Ian Mortimer s prose is never dry or tedious, and he makes the best possible case for Roger Mortimer Plenty of interest along the way, and the book complements Kathryn Warner s excellent book on Edward II, giving as it were the other side of the coin I was surprised by how good a servant Mortimer had been to Edward II up until the rise of Hugh Despenser, after which all bets were off.If I have a criticism it is that certain inconvenient facts are left out notably the shameful treatment of the innocent Despenser children.However, make no mistake, this is a book well worth reading, especially if you want a deeper and better understanding of Roger Mortimer.It is interesting that Ian Mortimer concurs with the view that Edward II survived his alleged murder indeed a very good examination of the facts will be found here less This book gives a pretty good impression of 14th century aristocratic England by following the life story of one extraordinary man The author uses the book as a vehicle for sometimes very daring theses The central thesis, that Roger Mortimer did not kill king Edward II as had been historical consensus for centuries, is introduced somewhat offhandedly and only substantiated in the last chapter This makes seem much of the last third of the book seem pretty far out on a limb, but good evidence for it is given in the final chapter.I cannot finish without one quote though, which shows the author s twisted understanding of love and view of women though There is no reason to doubt that Roger did love Isabella deeply, as shown by his blurted out threat to kill her if she returned to her husband in 1325 Ian Mortimer writes engagingly and in deep detail about historical events and circumstances, but having read two of his books I don t think I need to read another one. If you are into detailed accounts of medieval history, this is excellent The author has done so much research and found new evidence that changes the story we know of Edward II The author s style is easy and entertaining This book makes you think of Mortimer and Isabella in awell rounded way without excusing their behaviors and actions. Well written, interesting, and fair on both Mortimer and Edward II whom I ve always had a bit of a soft spot for as a result of the Jarmen film until spiller alert we get to the conspiracy theory about Edward II surviving as a pilgrim in Italy. In this book, Professor Mortimer has done his usual excellent job of telling a medieval tale In looking at the life of Roger Mortimer, the author tells us how Edward II turned probably his ablest military commander into his greatest enemy who ultimately became Edward s wife s, Isabella, lover and consort.Roger is one of the fascinating characters that inhabit medieval history Born in the Welch Marches, he rose to be Edward s Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and most successful commander Unfortunately he controlled land that Edward s favorites, the DeSpencers, wanted and when he fought back, Edward had him arrested for treason and locked up in the Tower of London Just before the ax was to fall, Roger escapes from the Tower and flees to France There he becomes Edward s estranged Queen s lover and with her plots to depose Edward.In tracing Roger s rise, Dr Mortimer also looks at the reign of Edward II He looks at the problems his favorite, Hugh DeSpencer the Younger caused These problems led to the rebellion of his leading nobles including the King s cousin, the Earl of Lancaster and Mortimer Upon the defeat of the rebellion, Roger was imprisoned in the Tower and the story of escape is one of the highlights of the book.In telling the story of Mortimer and Isabella s relationship, Mortimer also tells the story of their conquest of England and Mortimer s subsequent assumption of power This was all in the name of Edward and Isabella s son the future Edward III After deposing Edward II, Mortimer ruled England in Edward III s name However he made many of the same mistakes the DeSpencers made and when Edward III came of age was deposed in turn and hanged in 1330, three years after coming to power.Dr Mortimer also looks at the fate of Edward II He is the first English medieval king to be deposed and is traditionally thought to have been killed on Mortimer s orders at Berkeley Castle in 1327 view spoiler The author takes issue first with the method by which Edward was killed a hot poker inserted into his rectum, and then if he was killed at all He concludes that if Edward did die at Berkeley is wasn t by the poker Howeber his ultimate conclusion is that he did not die at Berkeley, but survived as an itinerant monk in Lombardy until sometime between 1339 1341 hide spoiler Having finished Alison Weir s biography of Isabella, I immediately turned to that of her love Roger Mortimer It was interesting to read the two back to back and hear the perspectives as each author defended their favorite.It cannot be denied that my reading of Weir s book influenced my impression of Mortimer s The Greatest Traitor was much better written in terms of clarity and pacing, often reading like a novel with cliffhanger chapter endings However, such elements are farannoying in a biography, I found Similarly, one of my biggest problems with Weir s book was that it was dry and repetitive, with an insane number of footnotes When Weir drew conclusions, you generally understood how she reached them, and often heard opposing perspectives This isn t the case with Mortimer, who seems to make large leaps in his conclusions and expects you to ride with him The tone of his book is strongly tainted, while Weir at least attempts abalanced approach.Similarly, Weir often providesdetails into issues that affected both players The sham trial of Lancaster and subsequent punishment reflected the same way Lancaster treated the kings favorite years prior, but no mention of this is made, perhaps because it humanizes the lost felt by Edward II Similarly, the broad strokes that led Mortimer to conclude the early duration of Isabella and Mortimer s affair felt unsubstantiated, as did the machinations he described of the queen who, by his version, went to France plotting treason.Some of the information conflicted, leaving me uncertain which conclusion to draw Mortimer states that the king of France requested the presence of Edward III before Isabella joined him, while Weir stated that the suggestion came after Both authors also subscribed to the keep Edward II alive conspiracy, though Mortimer at least offers a reason that his ancestor might have done so I still find the idea of the plot tenuous I subscribe to Occam s Razer, and think the simplest thing to be done murder Edward II most likely was.The short version, then, is that Mortimer s book wasentertaining and less complicated to read, but that I questioned most of his conclusions.