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Summary

King Henry IV survived at least eight plots to dethrone or kill him in the first six years of his reign. However, he had not always been so unpopular. In his youth he had been a great chivalric champion and crusader. In 1399, at the age of 32, he was greeted as the saviour of the realm when he ousted from power the tyrannical King Richard II. 

But Henry had to contend with men who supported him only as long as they could control him; when they failed, they plotted to kill him. Adversaries also tried to take advantage of his questionable right to the crown. Such threats transformed him from hero to murderer, prepared to go to any lengths to save his family and throne. 

Against all the odds, however, he took a poorly ruled nation, established a new Lancastrian dynasty and introduced the principle that a king must act in accordance with parliament.

©2014 Ian Mortimer (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about The Fears of Henry IV

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I learned a lot about two Reigns

This book describes the lives of both Richard II and Henry IV as they are inextricably linked. My knowledge of these two Kings was largely based on the Shakespeare plays shaped by the playwright's awareness of the sensitivities of Elizabeth I to the deposing of a monarch. The author is an historian who has done much research which is reflected in the scholarly approach to many of the issues over the deposing of Richard and the validity of the various claims to the throne if Richard, as the grandson of the Edward III, was deemed not fit to rule.

It was a turbulent period of English history with civil strife and repeated battles against the Scots and the French which makes for a pacy narrative. I was left very aware of how circumstances surrounding a monarch's reign colour how he/she is regarded by future generations.

If you're interested in history I'm sure you'll enjoy this book.

12 people found this helpful

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Interesting, Educational, Funny totaly Fantastic

This was a great read, I didn't realise how much of my knowledge of Henry 4 was based on Shakespeare and pop culture. I learnt so much from this book, it's very well written and full of the sort of detail you know to expect from Mortimer. Perfectly structured it not only works as a biography of both Henry 4 & also Richard 2 but also as a history of the wars of the roses part 1.
It never dragged and I genuinely couldn't put it down.

5 people found this helpful

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Wooden Narration

I have been looking forward to this book, but unfortunately the narration is so wooden that I think I will have to resort to the printed edition to do Mr Mortimer's work justice.

3 people found this helpful

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Great history laid destitute by dire narration

Mortimer writes excellent books but his choice of narrator here kills any willingness to listen on.

3 people found this helpful

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The Fears of Henry IV

The story can never be less than fascinating. The tyrannical and despotic Richard II and the barons who tried to stay alive. The politics are fascinating. But good grief, the narration was dreadful. Mispronounced words, a weirdly breathless style and a seeming incomprehension of the subject. Read it, but don't listen to it!

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Interesting read on lesser known king

This is a really well researched and written book on a king who seems to have been pretty overlooked ...obviously a conciencious and well intentioned man. My only problem was the narration which although authorative had an odd halting quality, full of short pauses in the middle of sentences which I found rather got in the way. Sorry narrator.

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Awful narration

The narration is awful.. so much so that I can't get into the story at all. Ruined the book for me.

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Another good one from Ian Mortimer

As in the title of my review - interesting story about one of less known English monarchs and written almost like a good fiction book. I learnt a lot and the same time I enjoyed it very much.

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Terrible... faltering... narration

It's difficult... to review... the book... itself because... the narrator seems... completely incapable of... delivering more than...three words... at a time. How can any producer possibly overlook such an irksome delivery without addressing it? Such a shame for the author and listener.

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Reader

The book was wonderful. Mortimer has brought Henry1V to life.
The narrator read it as though he was either learning to read, or thought that if he did not speak at a snail's pace we might not understand. Disappointing quality of performance.