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Extended Audio Sample The Conquering Family Audiobook, by Thomas B. Costain Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.59 out of 53.59 out of 53.59 out of 53.59 out of 53.59 out of 5 3.59 (27 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas B. Costain Narrator: David Case, Frederick Davidson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Plantagenets / Pageant of England Series Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781415964835
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Thomas B. Costain's four-volume history of the Plantagenets begins with THE CONQUERING FAMILY and the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, closing with the reign of John in 1216.The troubled period after the Norman Conquest, when the foundations of government were hammered out between monarch and people, comes to life through Costain's storytelling skill and historical imagination.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DoctorM | 2/19/2014

    " I first read Costain's four-volume history of the Plantagenet family back when I was twelve or thirteen--- long, long ago. The books have long ago dropped out of sight--- popular history published first more than half a century ago. And that's a pity. I can't say that they're academic history, or that Costain's interpretations of England from the 1140s to 1485 have held up. But these are the books that introduced me to Anglo-Norman England and to a host of figures (Henry and Eleanor, the over-maligned John, Edward I, the over-praised Henry V, the tragic Richard III) I went on to read about in other, more academic works. I think the Costain books still work as an introduction, and I very much think they're good reads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemary Prawdzik | 2/18/2014

    " Previous to this book, I've read The Three Edwards and the Last of the Plantagenets. In those books I found this author's style dry and focused on quoting source materials, with a confusing out of chronological order narrative. Not so with this book - it reads almost like a novel. So, readers, don't be afraid to tackle this one. However, I'm not sure why the author states that Henry's first illegitimate son, Geoffrey, and his last illegitimate son, William Longespee, were born by Henry's mistress, Rosamund. Neither of them were from Rosamund. The other inaccuracy is the reference to Henry and Eleanor's first son, William, being born just shy of being illegitimate - only 5 months after they were married. From the research I've done, I believe William was born more like a year and a half after they were married. So, if you can look past these inaccuracies, the rest of the book is worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tomi | 2/15/2014

    " I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading Thomas Costain! This book reads more like a novel than a work of history. I enjoyed the details about peoples' lives, their clothing, the meals they ate. Richard the Lion-Heart was a jerk and John I was a bully! They, however, were just like every other ruler of the time; Costain provides an excellent picture of the Plantagenet era, not just in England but France, Rome, and the Holy Land as well. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jody | 2/13/2014

    " I usually like histories, but this one didn't catch me even though I have read extensively about this period and the civil war that insues because of the acidental death of the heir of the king. Couldn't make myself finish it, although that might have just been my mood - wanting something much lighter where I didn't have to think about 100 different people, most of who had the same names or similar names. Just wasn't up for a big family fight where too many innocent by-standers get killed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coleen Dailey | 2/3/2014

    " THis is the first in a series about The Plantagenets. Book was written n the late 1950s and is a little dry at times. It covers the political hisotry very thoroughly as well as some of the social and intellectual things that were happening at the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sonya Wanvig | 1/29/2014

    " Costain said he wanted to write a history of England that reads like a story. Wow, did he succeed! And it really is a history with no dialogue, but he writes in such a way that you don't lose interest. An older lady I know recommended Costain to me and I've been searching for his books for about a year. I finally got the spelling of Costain right and found them a couple weeks ago. My library's catalog says they have one copy of each of his books. When I got the book, it still had one of the old cards in the back from the precomputer days! All the dates were from the 1950s so this one hasn't been popular in awhile. Great great book; best history of England I've read to date... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gay | 1/27/2014

    " I'm not sure if this is considered fiction, but it reads like a novel. Actually, this is a series. The Three Edwards, The Last of the Plantagenets, and the Magnificent Century are a great intro to the history of England's kings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melinda Elizabeth | 1/18/2014

    " Very well written, not dry and wordy as books regarding such subjects can to be. Perfect length and very insightful! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ginger Jane | 12/8/2013

    " I tried to listen to this but my head fell off because I was so BORED and the way that the history was presented was so overtly romantic and biased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Curt | 11/28/2013

    " Very good anecdotal history of the earliest plantagenet kings. This is part of a four book series and covers Henry II, Richard I and John. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ROSALIE | 11/5/2013

    " I cannot put this book down and I am looking forward to the others written about the Plantagenets of England. There is much information about their lives, and the history they were creating. Henry 11...Richard the Lionheart...Thomas a' Becket...for starters. I love these books "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexsandra Stewart | 10/28/2013

    " Read this series, 4 books in all, years and years ago. Loved them at the time. Not sure how historically accurate they are, but are a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 10/28/2013

    " I really like Costain's style. He is very readable, just telling the story of the Plantagenets. I have 2 more in this series to get to. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 MzDivaDawn | 10/26/2013

    " I can't get enough of British historical fiction, British royal history, etc (after all, I am half English in heritage, the other half is Italian); however, this was just wayyyy too dry, even for me "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean Flannery | 7/9/2013

    " I discovered Thomas Costain more years ago than I care to think. His Plantagenet series, of which this is the first, really brings the time and the characters to life. A thoroughly good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 6/18/2013

    " Equal parts dry and gossipy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reuel | 3/19/2013

    " A good read. Historical fiction about Plantagenet England. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 10/21/2012

    " Fun and interesting. Not just names and dates, but a narrative that brings to life a distant age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 4/19/2012

    " I loved all the details about the Plantagenets from the first conquerors (as told in this book) to the birth of the Tudor dynasty (in the final book of the series). Great for history buffs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosina Barker | 11/5/2011

    " lots of fun - history as guys stabbing eachother, being stabbed, etc "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rolana | 1/8/2011

    " Thomas B. Costain brings history to life. These books were amazing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 MzDivaDawn | 8/13/2010

    " I can't get enough of British historical fiction, British royal history, etc (after all, I am half English in heritage, the other half is Italian); however, this was just wayyyy too dry, even for me "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ginger | 1/11/2010

    " I tried to listen to this but my head fell off because I was so BORED and the way that the history was presented was so overtly romantic and biased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Curt | 3/16/2009

    " Very good anecdotal history of the earliest plantagenet kings. This is part of a four book series and covers Henry II, Richard I and John. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 ROSALIE | 6/18/2008

    " I cannot put this book down and I am looking forward to the others written about the Plantagenets of England. There is much information about their lives, and the history they were creating. Henry 11...Richard the Lionheart...Thomas a' Becket...for starters. I love these books "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reuel | 2/8/2008

    " A good read. Historical fiction about Plantagenet England. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gay | 10/15/2007

    " I'm not sure if this is considered fiction, but it reads like a novel. Actually, this is a series. The Three Edwards, The Last of the Plantagenets, and the Magnificent Century are a great intro to the history of England's kings. "

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About the Author
Author Thomas B. CostainThomas B. Costain wrote The Last Plantagenets among other titles.
About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.