Reviews of Louis

‘This is a very fine work. It is obvious from the outset that it has been very carefully researched, and written by someone with a keen eye for the finer details which bring the character and person of her subject to life. This is no two-dimensional portrait of a distant medieval ruler, but a rounded portrait of a man whose very presence in England epitomised the fragility of the relationship between England and Europe in the opening decades of the 13th century.’

Tom Horler-Underwood, Reviews in History, November 2017

‘Hanley’s biography effectively reveals Louis’s important role in the civil wars against John … the religious fervour of the early thirteenth century and its devastating effects come through clearly … touch[es] on some of the most complex issues of the early thirteenth century … Louis is rightly forgotten no longer.’

Alice Taylor, Times Literary Supplement, February 2017

I have been waiting for a biography of Louis for a long time, and few are better qualified to write it than Hanley. She has a command of the sources and skilfully deploys her expertise in medieval arms and warfare … this is serious history, as well as a gripping and poignant story.’

Sophie Ambler, BBC History Magazine, July 2016

‘Captivating…Hanley’s work vividly depicts the texture of the times with an enthralling, novelistic narrative.’

Publisher’s Weekly

‘… those who enjoy Plantagenet history or merely royal curiosities will find it an exciting and elegantly told tale.’

Dan Jones, the Times, 9 April 2016

‘As important as Magna Carta in the formation of England was the now forgotten French invasion which followed on from it. Prince Louis’s failure to establish himself as king reveals unexpected strengths in the English institutions of law and government which challenged him. Catherine Hanley uncovers this remarkable episode through her mastery of the sources (in Latin and Old French) and her ability to tell a good story. This book is essential reading for students of English and European history, as well as being an exemplary biography in its own right.’ 

Michael Clanchy, author of England and Its Rulers

‘A lively and accessible account of a neglected aspect of a crucial episode in English history and of the life of a King of France’.

David Bates, author of Normandy Before 1066 

‘Catherine Hanley has produced a highly readable, lively account of the ill-fated invasion of England by Prince Louis of France and his brief reign as king of France. Overshadowed by his father, Philip Augustus, and his son, St Louis, Louis VIII emerges here as a man of considerable talent and strong character, the embodiment of his age.’

Jeffrey Hamilton, author of The Plantagenets: History of a Dynasty