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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099481751
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $19.99

A Great and Terrible King

Edward I and the Forging of Britain

The first popular biography of Edward I in a generation by a major new historian.

This is the first major biography for a generation of a truly formidable king. Edward I is familiar to millions as ‘Longshanks’, conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (‘Braveheart’). Edward was born to rule England, but believed that it was his right to rule all of Britain. His reign was one of the most dramatic of the entire Middle Ages, leading to war and conquest on an unprecedented scale, and leaving a legacy of division that has lasted from his day to our own.

In his astonishingly action-packed life, Edward defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort in battle; travelled across Europe to the Holy Land on crusade; conquered Wales, extinguishing forever its native rulers, and constructed – at Conwy, Harlech, Beaumaris and Caernarfon – the most magnificent chain of castles ever created. After the death of his first wife he erected the Eleanor Crosses – the grandest funeral monuments ever fashioned for an English monarch.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099481751
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Marc Morris

Dr Marc Morris is an historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. Following the success of his bestselling biography of Edward I, A Great and Terrible King (Hutchinson, 2008), he has recently completed a major new book, The Norman Conquest (Hutchinson, 2012). A definitive new account of King John will be published in 2015, the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

In 2003 Marc presented the highly acclaimed six-part series Castle for Channel 4 and wrote its accompanying book (now published in paperback by Windmill). He has also contributed to history programmes such as Time Team, as well as other shows on both television and radio.

An expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, Marc has written numerous articles for History Today, BBC History Magazine and Heritage Today. In a recent academic paper he proposed a new date for the construction of King Arthur’s Round Table at Winchester.

Marc speaks regularly to schools, historical societies and literary festivals, and also leads specialist tours of UK castles. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
For more information, visit www.marcmorris.org.uk.

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Praise for A Great and Terrible King

“Marc Morris's new account of the life of Edward I is a splendid example of the genre. Edward's life is in many ways an ideal subject for such an approach, full of incident and action... An excellent, readable account of his reign”

Literary Review

“This is a direct, forthright and welcoming book... Edward I was called a "great and terrible king" and he has been well served by Marc Morris. He leads us confidently through the litany of battles and conflicts”

Scotland on Sunday

“A highly readable account of an important reign”


“Marc Morris has written the first full biography of Edward I for around 100 years, and uncommonly good it is too ... He was a remarkable man, and a great king. Marc Morris does him justice, brings him clearly before our eyes, and, like a true historian, judges him by the standards of his age, not ours. It's compelling stuff.”

Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph

“The title of Marc Morris' book is apt. No king of England had a greater impact on the peoples of Britain than Edward I. By telling his story in the context of the thirteenth-century English views of the Scots and the Welsh, and seeing Scottish and Welsh developments as interlocking with, but being more than simply responses to English invasion, he has succeeded in writing a book for today”


“An insightful, compelling and highly readable account of one of Britain's most influential kings”

Robyn Young, author of the Brethren Trilogy

“Edward I's reign during the Middle Ages was one of the most dramatic in history: a time of adventure and political advances, including Holy Land crusades and battles with Scotland. A brilliant biography”

Daily Express

“Morris tells Edward's story fluently and conveys a compelling sense of the reality, and the contingency, of personal rule... It is on the subject of "the forging of Britain" that Morris is most consistently thought-provoking”


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