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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 listeners say about The Conquering Family

Average Customer Ratings
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narration detracts from the wonderful story

The Plantagenets are a prime example that truth is as unusual and intriguing as fiction. Instead of a single story to be told about one person who did a particular thing, there are a multitude moving parts to British medieval history of the monarchy. Most of us have our favorite characters and villains and debates continue to this day but none of it is dull. In recent years, much has been uncovered and learned about contributing characters we didn’t even know about 200 years ago Resulting in many wonderful new stories to be told from a variety of points of view. No more boring lists of dates and times, British medieval history is full of adventure, romance and intrigue.
SO.. I would think that all a reader need do, is read.
David Case Proves me wrong. He has beautiful diction and a lovely voice - for something else but not a story meant to grab the reader. (and history can be so boring unless you do that)
Case sounds as if he’s separate from the material instead of telling us an engaging story. I felt as if he was rattling off a memorized history lesson instead of telling a wonderful story.


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Thrilled to see Costain's series on Audible BUT...

I have loved the Plantagenet saga from Thomas B Costain since I was a child, so I was happy to see them offered on Audible. However, the narrator's voice is so *affected*, it is difficult to enjoy this classic. It puts me in a quandary as to whether to purchase the next three books. I am very disappointed in the reader, but not in the book itself. The book itself is delightful, bringing personality to what may have otherwise been stale old history.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful