Ian Mortimer



'Compelling, exuberant and erudite - combining the vivid drama of medieval character and battle with the vigour of revisionist history' (Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin).

'[A] sparkling revisionist study... Mortimer never fails to be perceptive, challenging of orthodox opinions and supremely readable.' Christopher Silvester, Daily Express, 25 September 2009.

'A new and convincing likeness of medieval England's most iconic king.' Nick Rennison, Sunday Times, 18 October 2009.

'The device of putting just one year under the microscope is a bold one... Day by day, the reader is in the thick of things. The effect of this is new and unexpected, in several ways. The drama of the year is heightened, as the drumbeat of the days rolls towards Agincourt. The religiosity of the age is emphasised, as the saints' days and the natural rituals of the year gain new prominence in the narrative... The personalities emerge sharper, firmer and more duplicitous.' The Economist, 19 November 2009.

'An impressively rigorous day-by-day narrative... Everything is in context; nothing is left out... More than any other historian he gives us a genuinely three-dimensional portrait of a man who was of his times but came to transcend them.' Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph, 20 November 2009.

'A highly original approach to the presentation of a single year... Mortimer writes biographical history with formidable energy and panache... His method is an enthralling experiment in time-travel: this book takes the year of Agincourt a day at a time, building an in-depth picture of how those who lived through it experienced events. At times it reads like a novel, at times it offers subtly nuanced back story...
This is the most illuminating exploration of the reality of 15th-century life that I have ever read.' Christina Hardyment, The Independent, 27 November 2009.

'Mortimer's contribution reveals - to an extent hitherto not fully appreciated - what went on in Henry's mind... [He] deserves credit for reversing so many stereotypical assumptions, often propounded not only at stage or film-set level, but in popular histories, which, up to now, many have accepted without serious challenge... The view, held by the majority of historians, that Henry V was the 'golden boy of 15th-century politics' will surely prevail, but Mortimer puts up a strong and provocative argument that should cause his readers to think again.' Dr Brenda Bolton, Church Times, December 2009.

'The chronology fascinates, even though the reader already knows the outcome. We can follow the Battle of the Somme and D-Day minute by minute in words, stills, maps and moving pictures. Here, Mortimer hauls us back almost 600 years when none of the communications apparatus we enjoy was even dreamed of. He has carried out his exhausting task very well.' John Hinton, Catholic Herald. 29 January 2010.

'Excellent... As always, Mortimer writes with great narrative vigour, bringing distant events to life and keeping the reader turning the pages. His description of the Battle of Agincourt itself is a tour de force... Both these books [1415 and Juliet Barker's Conquest] add much to our understanding of the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years War. Common to them both is a keen interest in the use of narrative as a vehicle for historical investigation and explanation... Both books, however, can be enjoyed as much for the quality of their prose as for their content. Both are based on solid research, yet wear their learning lightly. Both provide excellent examples of how serious history can be written for the wider public.' Professor Nigel Saul, Times Literary Supplement, 25 March 2010.

'If you're expecting an ingratiating novel about the wonders of one of our most iconic kings, then prepare for something more forthright and well-researched.' Big Issue - North, 30 August 2010.

'Whether examining Henry's penny-pinching efforts to raise money for his expedition to France or recnostucting the killing field of Agincourt on which he strove to prove himself God's chosen ruler, Mortimer creates a convincing new likeness.' Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times, 12 September 2010.

'Ian Mortimer's decision to tell this story in diary format, giving us an almost day-by-day account, would not have suited every historical study, but in this instance was a stroke of genius. The danger would have been an excess of extraneous detail, but Mortimer's instinct is superb and what we get instead is the mythical hero-king - immortalised by the Laurence Olivier film - rendered suddenly human and close... Once his incursion into France begins, after plots against him and the burning of religious martyrs, the diary really comes into its own, giving us a daily roll call of dead knights and increasing expenses. The immediacy of the format makes Henry real and flawed; a disturbed but compelling individual.' Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday, 26 September 2010.

'A very full, compelling account of the year and the main issues of the time.' John van der Kiste, The Bookbag