Tag Archives: Henry IV

Within the Hollow Crown

HollowCrownWithin the Hollow Crown: A Valiant King’s Struggle to Save His Country, His Dynasty, and His Love
                            By Margaret Campbell Barnes
“Within the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king…”
-Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard II

This historical novel tells the story of Richard II, the last Plantagenet king of England, who became King at 11 years old.   He was the son of Edward, the Black Prince and Joan of Kent, but he inherited the crown from his grandfather, Edward III. The author, MCB, writes this story from an interesting perspective, seeing Richard as a tragic king, not the evil, vengeful one history knows him as.

Highly cultured and worldly,  Richard was one of the greatest royal patrons of the arts.  He was the first king to have a portrait done of himself and is widely believed to have invented the cloth handkerchief.  Parchment from his courtiers reported that he had “a little piece of cloth for the lord king to wide and clean his nose”.

Queen Anne of Bohemia, by animegirlUK:

England saw years of prosperity, peace and financial solvency under Richard’s reign partly from the unique partnership he enjoyed with his wife, Anne of Bohemia.  Their marriage was truly based in trust thereby giving Richard a sounding board for making decisions for his kingdom.  When Anne died, he felt like there was no one to trust.  Richard seems not to be able to handle grief and the responsibilities on his own so his life spirals out of control, his friends betray him, and he turns to vengeance against those whom he believes have failed him.  Richard’s posthumous reputation has to a large extent been shaped by Shakespeare, whose play Richard II  written in 1595, portrays Richard’s misrule and his deposition by Bolingbroke as responsible for the fifteenth-century Wars of the Roses

In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke,  who is not portrayed in this book as a usurper. However, with little resistance, Bolingbroke deposed Richard and had himself crowned as King Henry IV. Richard died in captivity early the next year; he was probably murdered.

King Richard II (1367-1400), by animegirlUK:

This historical novel is more about the human side of life during Richard II reign, not about battles and politics.  It is however, packed with events, people, places, and drama.  I feel it’s to much for one book, but a good read none the less.  The characterizations have depth and the story line is always moving. It is helpful to know some of the historical background because of the details of events , etc.


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