The Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI

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Simon and Schuster, May 7, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 464 pages
A thrilling new account of the tragic story and troubled times of Henry VI, who inherited the crowns of both England and France and lost both.

Firstborn son of a warrior father who defeated the French at Agincourt, Henry VI of the House of Lancaster inherited the crown not only of England but also of France, at a time when Plantagenet dominance over the Valois dynasty was at its glorious height.

And yet, by the time he died in the Tower of London in 1471, France was lost, his throne had been seized by his rival, Edward IV of the House of York, and his kingdom had descended into the violent chaos of the Wars of the Roses.

Henry VI is perhaps the most troubled of English monarchs, a pious, gentle, well-intentioned man who was plagued by bouts of mental illness. In The Shadow King, Lauren Johnson tells his remarkable and sometimes shocking story in a fast-paced and colorful narrative that captures both the poignancy of Henry’s life and the tumultuous and bloody nature of the times in which he lived.

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The Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI

User Review  - Book Verdict

Historian Johnson (So Great a Prince) aims to help readers interested in late medieval history better understand the life and political choices of Henry VI (1421–71), a complicated, contradictory, and ... Read full review

The Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Johnson (So Great a Prince) seeks to reclaim the unhappy Lancastrian king from the “simple saint” myth with a thorough examination of his difficult circumstances and his pious, peace-oriented ... Read full review


Note on names dates and money Maps
Woe to thee o land whose king is a child
That divine king your father
In infant bands crowned king
The universal joy and comfort of us all
The serpent of division
Virtues and teachings convenient for the royal person
The beginning of sorrows
Misrule doth rise
The sword of vengeance
Of queens that be crowned so high none know I
Rejoice England in concord and unity
Our mortal and extreme enemies
The test of the sword
Enemies on every side

The throne of his kingdom will be established
Earthly goods
Mother of mercy save both realms
Treason walking
The royal crown is in the hand of God
A fixed purpose
To the counsellors of peace is joy
Instruments of necromancy
Welcome Princess our lady sovereign
Stretch forth the hand
The mutability of worldly changes
Great and grievous reverses and fortunes of war
O king if king you are rule yourself
Beware King Henry how thou do let no longer thy traitors go loose
The harvest of heads
The true blood of the realm
My most dread sovereign lord
The most precious most joyful and most comfortable earthly treasure that might come unto this land
Out of the north an evil shall break
Lost irretrievably
Perverse and variable fortune
Outwards enemies
False imaginations
I am the rock of the English kingdom
Have not the English always betrayed their kings?
That puppet of a king
The shadow on the wall
Very dolorous and discomforted queen of England
Holy King Henry
Where did Henry VI die?
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About the author (2019)

Lauren Johnson is a historian with a degree from Oxford University. She is the author of the novel The Arrow of Sherwood and lives in the United Kingdom.

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