The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is
the perfect time to reflect on King John.
As the youngest of Henry II's five sons, the
future offered little for him until his older
brother Richard died and he succeeded
to the throne in 1199. But by his death
in 1216, he had lost almost all that he
inherited and had come perilously
close to losing his English kingdom.
Stephen recounts John's story, drawing
on thousands of contemporary sources.
It moves from accession to rebellion and
civil war, reveals exactly why John's reign
went so disastrously wrong, and tells how
John's failure led to the great cornerstone
of Britain's constitution: Magna Carta.