Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones (on Audible)

After having my baby, I spent many late nights soothing and nursing my little girl. The lack of sleep made it hard to read regular books, and I also needed a way to keep myself awake. My husband really enjoyed listening to books on Audible, so I decided to give it try. I started with Dan Jones' Medieval history, The Plantagenets. 

I love reading history, and The Plantagenets covers a particularly fascinating and eventful era in English history. It opens with the tragedy of the White Ship, a pivotal moment when the heir to the throne, only legitimate son of Henry I, died in a shipwreck. Without a male heir, Henry I decides to leave the throne to his only remaining legitimate child, the Empress Matilda. From Matilda's line came some of England's best and worst kings (and queens). Kings like Henry II or Edward III are remembered as powerful rulers who dominated their enemies and expanded their territories and influence. Yet, the Plantagenet kings like Edward II, John Lackland (the notorious Prince John of the Robin Hood legends), and Richard II endangered the monarchy and the country with their incompetence, arrogance, and savagery. Their stories are exciting to listen to, and give the listener a great insight into the Medieval world. Although it's a history book, it's almost as exciting as Game of Thrones. All in all, The Plantagenets is an excellent book, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in history, or any fans of Medieval fantasy.

As for trying Audible, I liked the service quite a bit. The reader, Clive Chafer, had a pleasant voice with a British accent. He managed to deliver many of the best lines of the book with just the right amount of dry irony. While I still prefer ordinary reading, I can see the value of audio books. They're great for long car trips, or long nights with a baby.

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