Faber Members get 10% off their first order

Restless Kings

Nick Barratt

‘The Restless Kings’ is the gripping story of Henry II and his sons Henry, Geoffrey, Richard and John.

Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

‘A vivid and humane study of the Plantagenets’ diabolical and devious first family – a real joy to read.’ Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets

In The Restless Kings Nick Barratt presents the tumultuous struggle for supremacy between the first Plantagenet king, Henry II, and his four sons – a drama that tore apart the most powerful family in western Europe and shaped the future of two nations.

As well as exploring the personalities and crises facing these extraordinary people as a family, The Restless Kings follows them as they raced around western Europe, struggling to hold together a vast conglomeration of lands – often through force of arms – whilst constantly harried by the their nominal overlord and arch rival, Philip Augustus, king of France.

Although the key events took place over 800 years ago, their significance still resonates today. Whether you’re looking for the root causes of Brexit or tension in the Middle East, their origins can be found in the actions of the Angevin kings of England.

The Restless Kings will challenge everything you assumed you knew about the medieval world. Above all, it brings to life some of the most remarkable, complex, flawed and brilliant monarchs ever to have sat on the English throne.

Critic Reviews

A vivid and humane study of the Plantagenets' diabolical and devious first family - a real joy to read.

Dan Jones, author of the Plantagenets
Critic Reviews

‘Will help introduce modern readers to one of England’s more remarkable rulers.’ Literary Review

Critic Reviews

‘Dramatic machinations are especially well explained in Nick Barratt’s The Restless Kings’ Spectator

Critic Reviews

‘A tale well told, with an interesting take on the central issue.’ BBC History Magazine

Critic Reviews

‘So for a concise, grounded account of the rise and fall of the Angevin Empire, and the beginnings of an England that defined itself against its rival across the English Channel, this book is ideal.’

Critic Reviews

Barratt's book is less a group biography than a gripping political history of a formative period. It provides a detailed and nuanced account of various aspects of Angevin rule, including the Becket dispute, the Crusades, and the complex relationship with the kings of France . . . He is particularly good on the mechanisms of power, on the challenges of itinerant kingship, and on the administrative, legal and financial reforms which first strengthened the Angevin kings, but ultimately undermined them . . . his argument that this period of history continues to matter is strong . . well worth reading for the sheer pleasure of encountering (or re-encountering) this diabolical family and their turbulent times.

Critic Reviews

‘It’s been a great year for one of England’s most important yet least-known medieval kings Henry II, first of the Plantagenet line. Following Claudia Gold’s gripping retelling of his life, King of the North Wind, Nick Barratt’s The Restless Kings: Henry II, His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown takes a Europe-wide view of this turbulent and formative period, through the machinations of a formidable extended family.’


Professor Nick Barratt is an author, broadcaster and historian best known for his work on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are. He is an honorary associate professor of public history at the University of Nottingham, and Associate Director, Collections and Engagement, at the University of London’s Senate House Library as well as a teaching fellow at the University of…

Read More