The Brothers York: A Royal Tragedy

Thomas Penn (Author)


Vicious battles, powerful monarchs, and royal intrigue abound in this "gripping, complex, and sensational" (Hilary Mantel) true story of the War of the Roses--a struggle among three brothers, two of whom became kings, and the inspiration for Shakespeare's renowned play, Richard III.

In 15th-century England, two royal families, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, fought a bitter, decades-long civil war for the English throne. As their symbols were a red rose for Lancaster and a white rose for York, the conflict became known as the Wars of the Roses.

During this time, the house of York came to dominate England. At its heart were three charismatic brothers--King Edward IV, and his two younger siblings George and Richard--who became the figureheads of a spectacular ruling dynasty. Together, they looked invincible.

But with Edward's ascendancy the brothers began to turn on one another, unleashing a catastrophic chain of rebellion, vendetta, fratricide, usurpation, and regicide. The brutal end came at Bosworth Field in 1485, with the death of the youngest, then Richard III, at the hands of a new usurper, Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, progenitor of the Tudor line of monarchs.

Fascinating, dramatic, and filled with vivid historical detail, The Brothers York is a brilliant account of a conflict that fractured England for a generation. Riven by internal rivalries, jealousy, and infighting, the three York brothers failed to sustain their power and instead self-destructed. It is a rich and bloody tale as gripping as any historical fiction.

Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
June 16, 2020
6.7 X 2.1 X 9.3 inches | 2.1 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Thomas Penn is publishing director at Penguin Books UK. He holds a PhD in medieval history from Clare College, Cambridge University, and writes for The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. He is the author of The Brothers York and Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England.


"Superb. . . . The tragedy and brutality of the Wars of the Roses jumps out from every page."--Hilary Mantel "The Financial Times"
"An epic orgy of colour and character."--Leanda de Lisle "The Times (London)"
"Thrilling. . . . [Penn] brings a novelist's verve to his telling of events. . . . Penn's history of betrayal, backstabbing and paranoia strikes notes that still resonate today." --John Gallagher "The Guardian"
"A gripping history . . . brings characters to life as real people." --Simon Sebag Montefiore, BBC History Magazine, Books of the Year "The Guardian"
"The Brothers York is not just a magisterial work of sublime scholarship, it's a pure page-turner. . . . The wonderful thing about Thomas Penn is that he makes some of the most familiar stories in English history feel fresh and exciting."--Amanda Foreman, author of The Duchess "The Guardian"
"Riveting . . . a tremendous storyteller. . . . The tales of the Princes in the Tower have often been told, but rarely with as much wisdom and gusto as this." --Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year "The Guardian"
"Gripping, richly contextualised and meticulously researched . . . a vital corrective to the ongoing, polarising battle over Richard III's legacy."--Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year "The Spectator"
"An exceptionally detailed and absorbing narrative history with a gallantly sustained human touch."--Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year "The Telegraph (UK)"
"Pacy, engrossing and evocative in its details (of feasts and jousts as well as battles and diplomatic skulduggery)."--The Times Literary Supplement "The Telegraph (UK)"
"A gripping, complex and sensational story, told with calm narrative command. It's a story we think we know--but most accounts leave the personnel as frozen as portraits in stained glass. Here, the three York brothers spring to ferocious life, and you need strong nerves to meet them. With insight and skill, Penn cuts through the thickets of history to find the heart of these heartless decades."--Hilary Mantel