The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream
THE #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
‘As gripping as any thriller. History doesn’t get any better than this’ BILL BRYSON
’A brilliant read … Game of Thrones but in the real world’ ANTHONY HOROWITZ
PICKED AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE GUARDIAN, THE DAILY MAIL AND THE DAILY EXPRESS.
The sinking of the White Ship in 1120 is one of the greatest disasters England has ever suffered. In one catastrophic night, the king’s heir and the flower of Anglo-Norman society were drowned and the future of the crown was thrown violently off course.
In a riveting narrative, Charles Spencer follows the story from the Norman Conquest through to the decades that would become known as the Anarchy: a civil war of untold violence that saw families turn in on each other with English and Norman barons, rebellious Welsh princes and the Scottish king all playing a part in a desperate game of thrones. All because of the loss of one vessel – the White Ship – the medieval Titanic.
‘Highly enjoyable’ Simon Heffer
‘Brilliant’ Dan Jones
‘Fascinating’ Tom Bower
The #2 Sunday Times bestseller on Sunday 18 June 2021
”'How a drunk teenager shipwrecked the monarchy … As colourful and racy narrative history goes, this absolutely gallops … Whips through a hundred years of complex history from the Norman Conquest to Henry II” - Daily Mail
”'Vividly conjures up this half-forgotten medieval tragedy and its consequences” - Daily Mail, Books of the Year
”'An epic, gripping history of hubris, piety, treachery, happenstance, rebellion and slaughter.” - Catholic Herald
‘Rooted in the medieval chronicles, but crafted like a Hollywood thriller. Spencer is one of the finest narrative historians around’Mail on Sunday -
‘Charles Spencer is a gifted storyteller … Pivoted on one single, tragic winter evening. It is an event and a period of history that should be better known, and now it will be’The Times -
'Spencer proves himself more than a match for the story. He guides the reader well through the dramatic twists and turns of these years, which first placed Henry on the throne, then seemed set to deny the succession of his progeny. Spencer has a particularly good eye for detail, enriching his account with vivid pen-portraits of the main players … Fast-paced and immensely enjoyable'Literary Review -
‘Neglected by popular historians, [Henry I] … has found a master storyteller in Charles Spencer … rooted in excellent historical research … a lyrical, vivid and compelling portrait. He succeeds in bringing to life huge characters from nearly a millennium ago’Spectator -
‘An exhilarating narrative full of incident and insight. Here is the story, marvellously told, of the post-Conquest kings - and one almost-queen - of England: unpredictable, violently dramatic, and never less than compelling’Helen Castor -
'Told with verve and an exceptional eye for detail, this is the story of how a single catastrophe changed the course of British history forever. Dramatic, compelling and utterly addictive’Tracy Borman -