This book covers the lives of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V and is sub-titled, “Bad King, Fair King and Good King?” The challenge is to decide which of these three kings was really the good king. The scholars will tell you that Henry V was a great king because of the large portion of France that he managed to conquer. But the fine print in history tells a different story, one of suffering, brutality and needless slaughter. The book challenges the concept of “greatness” and forces the reader to examine history more carefully.
The deeds of these three kings are brought to life through the eyes of two Irish brothers. One is a scribe and one an archer. They travel the endless miles with their kings and record all that happened so that the reader can come to know these men through the eyes of two different men.
The two Irish brothers eventually retire to Ireland as old and spent men, but not until they have survived many skirmishes with the Welsh, the Battles of Shrewsbury, Agincourt, and many sieges in France. They are there when Henry IV has Archbishop Scrope beheaded and they suffer through unending money shortages that plagued all three kings. They are the eyes, ears, and noses of history that tell us what is thought to have really happened. They knew the trench people and could smell the stench of their rotting bodies. They saw men fall from dysentery and other diseases, all so that one man might call himself “King of all France.”
These fellows might have been your ancestors living at that time. If they could speak to you today, they might say something about learning from these three kings and avoiding their mistakes. All men in government should read this book and use it as a lesson in what not to do.
reference: King Henry V