1299 AD. In the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral’s spires, a fateful encounter brings together Edward, teenage heir to the English throne, and a darkly handsome soldier from Gascony, Piers Gaveston. Youthful infatuation gives way to a bond more powerful than any attempt at keeping them apart. Edward and Piers enter a pact of sworn brotherhood. A decade later, Edward’s spirited new Queen, twelve-year-old Isabella of France, quickly becomes smitten as much with her royal consort as with his dashing lover. But the power-hungry Earls resent Gaveston’s monopoly of royal favour and his defiant self-assurance. Political intrigue mounts, and the Earl of Lancaster has Gaveston murdered, leaving Edward devastated and thirsting for revenge…
THE SPELLBINDERS is a novel about Edward II, the Medieval King who put his love for Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser before his Kingdom, his Queen, and his Crown. It is a story of desire, violence, revenge, loss and redemption.
Plenty of historians and storytellers have delighted in slandering Edward and his lovers over the course of the last 700 years — starting from the sanctimonious polemic of the 14th century chronicler Robert of Reading, all the way down to the ludicrous historical distortions of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Yet, for all his failings as a leader, Edward appears to have been a good-natured man, generous and loyal, with a taste for simple pleasures.
The rehabilitation of Edward’s reputation in recent years owes much (indeed, virtually everything) to historian Kathryn Warner. Building on her painstaking research, THE SPELLBINDERS retells the story of Edward’s surpassing love for Gaveston and the Younger Despenser — the two men whom 14th century sources report to have bewitched the King, and enchanted his heart: the men who had the King spellbound.
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