Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning

Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning* is a fascinating, well researched, well analysed, and just very interesting to read. I recommend the book to anyone with a keen interest in the period, as it is a scholarly book, best enjoyed by people with prior knowledge. In its 10 chapters it touches on many mysteries from that period, ending with my favourite one, the dynastic succession of 1066.

These mysteries are not only in England, but Welsh kingdoms and Picts are a part of the history too, which was great. I think I enjoyed the part about the Picts best because I remembered from my visit to a small museum near Inverness about them. It surely is a difficult period of history to study due to the lack in available resources, so it makes for a fascinating read.

Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning

The Anglo-Saxons and Early Britain is the second book in the series. I loved the first one and I loved this one too. The chapters are short and concise, but filled with interesting details. As I mentioned, some prior knowledge would be great, to fully appreciate the scholarly research done by the author. Although anyone that is interested in this topic can read the book and do a bit of research when it comes to a specific place or something similar. The book also offers a very good insight into the difficulties faced by medieval historians when so much information is lost and what is recorded is biased at best. His remarks about Bede’s intentions when he recorded the history are great too. As one can assume, there are lots of mentions of chroniclers such as Bede and William of Malmesbury and their work is nicely critiqued.

Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword History
Year it was published:
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 272

About the author:Timothy Venning got his BA and PhD from King’s College London. He specialised in Cromwell’s foreign policy.
Other publications include Dictionary of National Biography (OUP – contributions); Cromwellian Foreign Policy (Palgrave); A Compendium of British Office-Holders (Palgarve); A Chronology of Byzantine Empire (Palgrave); A Chronology of the Roman Empire (Continuum); A Chronology of the Crusades (Routledge); A Chronology of Early Medieval Britain and Europe Ad 450-1066 (Routledge; Anglo-Saxon Kings and Queens; The Kings and Queens of Wales; The Kings and Queens of Scotland; Lords of the Isles: Rulers of the Highlands, Hebrides, and Man; King-Makers: Lords of the Welsh Marches (Amberley); If Rome Had Survived; An Alternative History of Britain; The Anglo-Saxon Age; The Hundred Years War; Norman and Plantagenets; The Tudors; The English Civil War (all Pen and Sword); plus 8 titles forthcoming including academic titles: Cromwell’s Failed State and the Monarchy; The Fall of the British Republic and the Return of the King: From Cromwell’s Commonwealth to Stuart Monarchy, 1657-1670: plus more Royal Mysteries as above and the pipeline. (All Pen and Sword).
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

5 thoughts on “Royal Mysteries by Timothy Venning”

  • I haven’t read too much historical fiction from this era, although I don’t mind it occasionally. I would be interested in reading what the author made of the chronicles of William of Malmsebury, as Malmesbury Abbey is only a short drive for us to get to and we visit quite often!

    • He comments on what William said on different kings or events, not too much, but interesting analysis nevertheless. I’ve been to Malmesbury Abbey, a few years ago. 🙂

    • I am yet to read historical fiction from that period. Maybe in a couple of years I will time for that. 🙂

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