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Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 [Hardcover]

Juliet Barker
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2009
Author of the best-selling AGINCOURT, Juliet Barker now tells the equally remarkable, but largely forgotten, story of the dramatic years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V's second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would put the crown of France on an English head. Only the miraculous appearance of a visionary peasant girl - Joan of Arc - would halt the English advance. Yet despite her victories, her influence was short-lived: Henry VI had his coronation in Paris six months after her death and his kingdom endured for another twenty years. When he came of age he was not the leader his father had been. It was the dauphin, whom Joan had crowned Charles VII, who would finally drive the English out of France. Supremely evocative and brilliantly told, this is narrative history at its most colourful and compelling - the true story of those who fought for an English kingdom of France.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; First Edition, First Printing edition (15 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408700832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408700839
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`Juliet Barker's new book is a magnificently readable account of the last four decades of that war, and a reminder that the reality was much nastier than the myth...Barker disentangles the dark threads to tell a story that never flags. I thought Agincourt was a superb book, but Conquest is even better. Once upon a time there was an English kingdom in France and Juliet Barker has brought it to extraordinary life' Bernard Cornwell, Mail on Sunday --Bernard Cornwell, Mail on Sunday

'Any historical novelist looking to set a swords'n'arrows actioner in a time and place not already hackneyed to death should read Juliet Barker's brilliant account' The Times
--The Times

Book Description

* The thirty years of English rule in France that followed the battle of Agincourt - by the acclaimed author of AGINCOURT: THE KING, THE CAMPAIGN, THE BATTLE


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A second "Agincourt"?' 29 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
Juliet Barker's 'Conquest' aims to provide a coherent narrative of a remarkably dramatic, but strangely neglected, era in Anglo-French history. This is no easy task. In contrast to her best-selling 'Agincourt', which essentially focused on a single campaign waged over a few months, 'Conquest' spans more than three decades. With this time-frame, it's a formidable challenge to make sense of the twist and turn of military and political events, let alone do justice to a vast and ever-changing cast of characters. The author has certainly achieved her stated objective: a careful scholar and an accomplished writer, she tells the complex story clearly, in measured and elegant prose.

So, why four stars rather than five? The dust-jacket shows a gore-flecked man-at-arms defending the banner of St George. This striking image is appropriate to the book's subject, but, in my opinion, gives a less accurate idea of its contents. 'Conquest' is as much concerned with the financing and organisation of the rival war efforts as with the fighting itself. Such material, which reflects the interests of academics who've worked on 'Lancastrian Normandy' since the 1920s, has a place within a narrative pitched at a broader readership, but not to the extent where loans and subsidies edge out the cut and thrust - the drama of raid, siege, ambush and battle.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow up 12 April 2010
Format:Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Agincourt by Juliet Barker so I was keen to see how her follow up would summarise the inevitable decline of the final phase of the English wars in France. The answer is you are again in very safe hands.

The advantage of the Agincourt campaign is it has a fairly fixed set of players and a defined series of events. Summarising 30 years of conflict by comparison is daunting. The number of names and places is at times a little overwhelming but to Baker's credit the narrative never gets bogged down. Once again this is an impressive fusion of story telling and research coming together to give a comprehensible summary of what was in essence an endless series of siege and counter siege.

The section of Joan (Jehanne) of Arc is a very interesting and compassionate summary of a larger than life character. It strips away the myth (and canonisation) but also defends her against the charges of heresy. In many ways this section summarises what's great about the whole book, the topic of the English wars in France is still pretty vicious on both sides of the channel and yet Juliet Baker shows the strengths and weaknesses of all the major factions and figures in this riveting tale.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter

So this is book is thrilling, sad and a list of missed opportunities not just for decisive encounters but also for earlier peace which would have benefitted all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Conquest 28 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Juliet Barker's book "Conquest" carries on where her previous book "Agincourt" left off. It is an extremely thorough history of the rise and fall of the English Kingdom of France. Trouble is I just found it extremely dull.

Unlike "Agincourt" the book lacks any specific focus, instead it plods methodically through each year chronologically, making sure to mention all the many different sieges and all the endless disputes between the nobility. There is just no colour anywhere, no descriptions of the weapons, armour and tactics of the combatants, no attempt to describe the effects of the war on the way of life of the local population, no descriptions of life as a soldier in the English occupation forces. Instead the focus is all on the nobility and the politics of the time.

Nor are there any really insightful descriptions of the individuals involved in this conflict. The chapters on Joan of Arc are perhaps the most interesting, but even these provide only scant details about Joan herself. No real effort is made to discuss who she was or what involvement she really had in the war - was she suffering from schizophrenia? did she actually fight in the battles? what was the effect on morale among the ordinary French soldiers following her capture? None of these points are discussed, and her actions are described in no more detail than the innumerable sieges which fill out the bulk of the book.

It's clear that Juliet Barker knows a great deal about this period but this book just seemed so uninspired, as though she was just going through the motions. There is no colour or passion in her writing, nothing to grip the reader and draw them into these turbulent times. "Conquest" covers the last years of the Hundred Years War efficiently, but the most exciting thing about it is the picture on the cover.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By technoguy VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Maps left a little to be desired,though there are some,they don't bring out the territorial landscape too well.There are some good colour plates.It seems to me there is no emotional heart to this book.Jehann D'Arc doesn't come alive,yet she seems pivotal to French destiny and success.It's as though Barker doesn't see the strange effects of medieval belief and superstition,of how a belief in having God on one's side could alter the whole course of the conquest and lead to the overthrow of the occupiers and drive them out.She picks up the calculations by the French aristocrats and English nobility,the religious authorities,their exploitation of the peasant girl,how she's the pawn in a greater game of international power politics.

Similarly she goes on too much about the funding of major battles or military exploits on both sides,yet sherarely brings home to you the bloody nature of the battles or social destruction of ordinary life,her account is a dry recounting of profit and loss.She's good on the powerful personalities like Henry V, Bedford, Charles VII, Philippe, Duke of Burgundy,Gloucester,John Talbot,the `English Achilles',the Bastard of Orleans.She religiously records contracts,treaties,truces,incomes,wages,chivalric codes and what they entailed as a result of taking aristocratic prisoners,capturing garrisons;similarly the royal weddings and their costs,military service,loyalty to whichever royal patron you served,the breaking of oaths,the changing of sides.The English took to fighting amongst themselves as the French had formerly done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars More difficult but still largely successful
Views on “Conquest: The English Kingdom of France in the Hundred Years War” have been much more mixed, although still mostly very favourable, that those expressed about the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JPS
5.0 out of 5 stars Hi
Great book but you will need to make notes and read it loads of time because O.M.G. there is a lot of info in it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by j e simmonds
5.0 out of 5 stars what an insight !
as a european citizen, it's amazing to learn again and again how much 'discussions' and redefinitions of borders etc have taken place in a history, that is not even that far... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Pc Storm
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab read
A tv programme prompted my interest in the period and so I've been spending money on books about the British war in France. Stirring times, a great read.
Published 15 months ago by Mark Gingell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - In part the story of an unsung hero John Duke of Bedford
Found this fascinating; what happened after Agincourt a story rarely told and although Henry was still the King and key strategist up to his death in 1422, it was his brother John... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Riva
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a really fantastic book. It offers a different slant on a familiar subject. I found it complemented other books I have read, but from a purely British viewpoint. Read more
Published 17 months ago by David New
5.0 out of 5 stars fleur de lis
An insightful account into the last few years of Henry V conquest on mainland Normandy/France, his death, the subsequent regal council which lead a mostly successful campaign, to... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2011 by Jacks
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but slightly too detailed
This is a fascinating account of the period and largely this is a great book. It is not necessarily the authors fault but the majority of the period covered is a bewildering list... Read more
Published on 19 Sep 2011 by Jason M. Webber
4.0 out of 5 stars The English Kingdom of France
From the author of the Agincourt comes the equally remarkable but little known story of the dramatic last thirty years of the hundred years wars when England ruled most of France... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 2011 by David I. Howells
3.0 out of 5 stars The greatest national hero you have never heard of?
Juliet Barker's account of "Agincourt" spent a great deal of time building up the context of the famous battle and digressed on a wide range of topics to flesh out the story in... Read more
Published on 31 July 2011 by Ian Thumwood
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