Regular price: $39.93

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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.

©1983 Thomas B. Costain; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    71
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    60
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Peter
  • Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • 01-20-09

An Entrancing History of the Early Plantegenets

The Conquering Family is the first of Costain's four volume history of the Plantagenets. It covers the founding of the dynasty, the rise and fall of Henry II, Richard the Lion-Heart and King John (a king so bad no king has been named John since).

This is a fabulous introduction to Medieval English history. Here's hoping that they include the other three books soon.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Elizabeth
  • Hayward, CA, United States
  • 04-02-12

Amazing, dare I say WOW!

This is one of the most interesting periods of Western European history. We know so much and so little. This book handles it very well, clearly, thoroughly and in an engaging style. I can start this in any spot and get right back into it all. Since there is no suspense about the outcome, it's a fait accompi after all, there is no such thing as a "spoiler."
This is a tale well told, and I encourage even those who think history is dry to give it a listen. The narrator has a wonderful rich voice and reads with clarity and understanding, which adds to the whole work.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Absolutely the best

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. If one is interested in English history, this book is a must. The research by Costain is very detailed and brings the participants alive.

What did you like best about this story?

Family intrigue.

What does David Case bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr Case's narrative give the story texture.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really as I wanted to absorb the many superbly researched details.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good treatment of pivotal characters

The Plantagenets were some the greatest figures of the West in a critical period. They stretched from Henry II to Henry V--a period of nearly 500 years that included not only the Henry's but the Richard's and the early Edward's, and that saw the development of much of the foundation for Western Democracy. Costain's writing is vivid and always interesting. Great history

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Overview

This book does move quickly from the beginning, and I feared I would loose track of the many players. I printed out a family tree of the Plantagenets; I HIGHLY recommend you do the same. With that in hand, the book was much easier to follow. Re the narrator, I disagree with the prevalent view; Case is an expressive reader despite his apparent pomposity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Needs a Different Narrator

I rarely write reviews, but I had to for this book. I love English history and was thrilled to learn that this long-out-of-print book was now available on Audible. I read the reviews and comments about the narrator, but downloaded the book. The reviewers were correct; this narrator was not a good choice. Never the less, I listened to the entire book and will probably get the other books in the series...reluctantly because they also have this same narrator. If not for the narrator I would have given this book five stars.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

IMPRESSIVE ACCOUNT

If you could sum up The Conquering Family in three words, what would they be?

Complete, impressive, and colorful

Which character – as performed by David Case – was your favorite?

David Case gives such an unparalleled performance that it's difficult to choose. He handles the English characters and the foreign ones with the same level of competence. His command of French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and Flemish accents and language was amazing.

Any additional comments?

I read all 4 volumes in this series - TWICE - and it's the best account of the Plantagenets that I've ever come across. David Case's superb narration breathes life into what could have been an otherwise boring tome.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Olga
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • 12-31-10

Importance of the voices

While the book is a great introduction to British history, I find David Case's voice unappealing. I have had a hard time trying to cope with it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The ugly truth behind the glorious legends

Would you consider the audio edition of The Conquering Family to be better than the print version?

Didn't read the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

Crisp, colorful, focused narrative, packed with historical facts, peopled with living, breathing characters, shocking, exciting, sad and fascinating.

What about David Case’s performance did you like?

He was a superb reader, one of the very best in the world. He elevated whatever he read, but as always, excels to the highest degree when he starts with good material.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Of course not!

Any additional comments?

The legend of Richard the Lion heart falls to pieces with this view of a rotten, selfish adventurer, in it for the glory and willing to drain every drop of labor, cash and blood from his people in the attempt. One of the worst things that ever happened to England.