Bloody Field By Shrewsbury: A King, a Prince, and the Knight Who Betrayed Their Dynasty

Paperback | August 22, 2013

byEdith Pargeter

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Outstanding? a tale compounded of romance, stirring adventure, and subtle psychological insight." - Publishers Weekly Henry Bolingbroke knows that he should be king of England. It's his God-given destiny, and the young Richard II had no right to banish him and claim the throne. With the help of the powerful lords of Northumberland, especially Harry "Hotspur" Percy, Henry triumphantly overthrows Richard and imprisons him. But the thrill of becoming Henry IV of England fades as trouble brews in Wales. Rebellion is in the air, and the question of how Richard II really died lingers, poisoning the court. Henry IV will need all his strength to defend the crown, but the relationships between the king, Hotspur, and the king's son Prince Hal contain the seeds of their own destruction. The king's powerful enemies are poised to pounce as the three men are drawn to bloody collision some two miles from Shrewsbury. Filled with the glorious historical detail that fans of Edith Pargeter have come to expect, A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury is a skillful tapestry of the feuds, loves, and triumphs of Henry IV. "Chivalry, treachery, conflict of loyalties? are the rich threads in the tapestry? the clash of wills is as stirring as the clash of steel." - Observer "A vivid portrait of Hotspur? one of the last knights-errant of the age." -Sunday Telegraph "

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Outstanding? a tale compounded of romance, stirring adventure, and subtle psychological insight." - Publishers Weekly Henry Bolingbroke knows that he should be king of England. It's his God-given destiny, and the young Richard II had no right to banish him and claim the throne. With the help of the powerful lords of Northumberland, ...

Edith Pargeter (1913-1995) has gained worldwide praise and recognition for her historical fiction and historical mysteries, including The Brothers of Gwynedd quartet. She also wrote several novels of crime fiction as Ellis Peters. She was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.68 inPublished:August 22, 2013Publisher:SourcebooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1402239912

ISBN - 13:9781402239915

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The boy was not yet two months past his twelfth birthday, but tall and well-grown for his age, with long, slender bones, a lofty carriage, and the light, gawky, mettlesome gait of a high-bred colt. The burnished hair that curved in a close-fitting cap about his head was a rich chestnut, and the eyes that stared guardedly out of his solemn oval face were hazel, coloured like sunlit water over variegated pebbles, and like running water, inscrutable and inapprehensible. His chin was firm, and strongly cleft, a chin to be reckoned with, even while he walked unsteadily on English earth after his long adjustment to the vagaries of the Irish sea, and looked about him like one lost and uncertain of his ground, thus abruptly restored to the arms of a father he knew but very imperfectly, and released from the durance of a king he had known intimately and affectionately, and without whom he was lame and at a loss. They had sent a ship from Chester to fetch him out of his captivity-for they insisted that he had been a captive-along with his fellow-hostage, sickly cousin Humphrey of Gloucester, and the trappings of King Richard's chapel, left behind with the boys when the tocsin sounded. He remembered the voyage now as one remembers the last dream before waking, the turmoil of his own mind, the uncertainty that lay before him, the fury of the seas, which by contrast hardly troubled his long agile legs, and never his stomach, the dogged advances that were beaten back for so many days, as though the elements willed to fulfill his own suppressed half-longing to be back in Ireland on the old terms. But there was no going back; he knew already that there is never any going back. Humphrey had died on the crossing, and it had meant almost nothing to him, the withdrawal of so pale a presence that he hardly noted its extinction. They had never had anything in common. He had been sorry about it, as one should be sorry when a relative dies; a formal acknowledgement, like the sign of the cross. But then they had limped successfully into Chester at last, and only when he had stepped ashore into a world of ceremony had he felt the sea turning his head into a weathercock and his legs to willow wands. He had everything to learn again in a new way. For he had seen at once, by the deference paid him, by the adulation that surrounded him, that he was now, whether they dared yet utter it or not, the king's son. And he learned quickly, for all the look of blank incomprehension that kept his face stony and mute so many days and weeks, for all the custody he kept of his tongue, speaking dutifully and low, and of his eyes, veiled and lonely. He could not choose but learn quickly what seduced him so irresistibly. For he had within him a deep, insatiable appetite for glory. So he embraced his father, kissed the hand that fondled him, answered all questions with circumspection, and so far as he could truthfully, walled up within him all the doubts no one had time to answer, took his place with determination a pace ahead of his brother Thomas, who was little more than a year his junior but still a child, and lived from day to day and hour to hour, looking no further ahead than nightfall. He made only one mistake, and that came late, after he had lowered his guard. Throughout that strange parliament of September 30th-if it was a parliament, for the king who had issued the writs for it had resigned his throne, so they were told, the day before it assembled, and every official and every magnate scrupulously avoided the use of the committed, the legal word, and spoke rather of a gathering of the estates of the realm-throughout that extraordinary meeting, whatever its true title, he had stepped delicately, looked austerely, and held his peace, never setting a foot astray. Though the sight of the empty throne, draped with its cloth of gold, had caused his heart to turn within him, and his eyes to sketch in there involuntarily the familiar slight figure that was missing, with its fair hair and fair face, clean-shaven, sensitive and melancholy in repose. But Richard was in the Tower. A commission of the estates had visited him there the previous day, and he had declared himself willing and ready to resign the crown, and yielded up his signet ring to Henry of Bolingbroke. "For if it rest with me," so they had reported him, "I could wish that my cousin should be my successor." The record of his renunciation had been read aloud in Latin and in English by Archbishop Scrope, and then, to better the legality of the occasion, they had added a long catalogue of the articles charged against Richard's mismanagement of the kingdom, thirty-two items in all. And by acclamation the estates had accepted his abdication, and set up instantly a commission to carry out the formal deposition, which they had done in all solemnity, standing before the vacant throne and declaring it as empty of majesty as the boy's practical eyes had already seen it to be. He had been afraid that he would have to enter into Richard's presence. He should have been afraid rather, if he had had more experience, of this glaring absence and loud silence. He should have been afraid of what he felt now in his bones, that he would never see Richard again. His charm was too well known, his following still too great, his eloquence too persuasive; neither then nor at any future time would Richard be allowed to walk into Westminster Hall and speak in his own defence. And then Henry of Bolingbroke, duke of Lancaster, had risen in his place, and laid claim in good English to the realm and crown of England, by his direct descent from King Henry the Third, by the grace of God which had plainly stood by him and approved him in giving England into his hand, and by the need the country had of right governance by a strong man. And the estates had declared their acceptance of him as king, witnessed the testimony of Richard's signet ring, and set him on the throne. The boy had been unable to suppress the glow of excitement within him as he saw his father seated in state; but this, too, he had contained, keeping a magisterial face and a still tongue, a magnate among magnates, grave when they consulted him, saying little but when he had an inner certainty what to say. All through the conferences of state that followed, while the offices of power were prudently filled with trusted Lancaster retainers, while Northumberland and Westmorland, those inveterate allies and rivals, were wisely invested with equal honours as constable and marshal of England respectively, and silly little Thomas was set up exultantly as steward of England, and put to work allotting rights and roles in the coronation ceremonies, with the earl of Worcester to hold his hand when he got frightened, the boy carried himself royally and unobtrusively, knowing well in his burning dreams that there was something greater in reserve for him. And then, after all his care, he had to make his one mistake; for by nature and inclination he was open, impulsive and warm, quick in affection and direct in speech, and it was only by early and wincing experience that he had learned circumspection. So when King Henry declared his intention of knighting all his sons at the Tower on the eve of his coronation, the boy looked with tolerant disdain on the jubilant excitement of his three younger brothers, and said at once: "I am a knight already."