Edward I (1272-1307) is one of the most commanding of all English rulers. He fought in southwest France, in Wales, In Scotland and in northern France, he ruled with ruthlessness and confidence, undoing the chaotic failure of his father, Henry III's reign. He reshaped England's legal system and came close to bringing the whole island of Great Britain under his rule. He promoted the idea of himself as the new King Arthur, his Round Table still hanging in Winchester Castle to this day. His greatest monuments are the extraordinary castles--Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Harlech and Conwy--built to ensure his rule of Wales and some of the largest of all medieval buildings.
Andy King's brilliant short biography brings to life a strange, complex man whose triumphs raise all kinds of questions about the nature of kingship - how could someone who established so many key elements in England's unique legal and parliamentary system also have been such a harsh, militarily brutal warrior?