Out on 16 April 2020

The Song of Simon de Montfort

Sophie Thérèse Ambler

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16 April 2020
368 pages

'Alive with human detail and acute political judgement, this book marks the arrival of a formidably gifted historian.' – Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets and The Templars

It was around half-past eight in the morning, with summer rainclouds weighing heavy in the sky, that Simon de Montfort decided to die. It was 4 August 1265 and he was about to face the royal army in the final battle of a quarrel that had raged between them for years. Outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and certain to lose, Simon chose to fight, knowing that he could not possibly win the day.

The Song of Simon de Montfort is the story of this extraordinary man: heir to a great warrior, devoted husband and father, fearless crusader knight and charismatic leader. It is the story of a man whose passion for good governance was so fierce that, in 1258, frustrated by the King’s refusal to take the advice of his nobles and the increasing injustice meted out to his subjects, he marched on Henry III’s hall at Westminster and seized the reins of power.

Drawing on an abundance of sources that allow us to trace Montfort’s actions and personality in a depth not possible for earlier periods in medieval history, Sophie Thérèse Ambler tells his story with a clarity that reveals all of the excitement, chaos and human tragedy of England’s first revolution.

One of the finest medieval biographies of recent years.

Gareth Russell - The Times

Sophie Thérèse Ambler is a dazzlingly talented historian and in her debut biography offers a bold and brilliantly written reassessment of one of (British) history’s most misunderstood figures – the reformer, rebel and scourge of the Plantagenets, Simon de Montfort. Alive with human detail and acute political judgement, this book marks the arrival of a formidably gifted historian.

Dan Jones

Gripping, detailed, and ingenious, The Song of Simon de Montfort is a compelling and thrilling story of England's very first revolution. With her beautiful prose, Sophie Ambler successfully crosses the gap between narrative and academic history and brings Simon de Montfort vividly to life

Dr Estelle Paranque, author of Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes