When King Henry I of England died, he had just one living legitimate child – a daughter named Matilda. Although many had sworn an oath to accept her as his successor, it was instead her cousin Stephen who became King of England, leading to many warring years known as the Anarchy. It was a complex and difficult situation.
Matilda succeeded briefly in taking Stephen hostage but she never quite managed to claim the throne and become a Queen in her own right. This right would be reserved for a woman four centuries later. It was Matilda’s son who succeeded Stephen as King.
Matthew Lewis manages to write a balanced and well-researched book about a confusing time in England. As Matilda battles for her rights and eventually her son’s rights, we also see Stephen’s side of the story. I also enjoyed the alternating chapters and the many images included.