When I first got this book, I was curious how the author was going to get an entire book out of one shipwreck and be able to keep everyone’s attention the entire way through. I quickly discovered it was a stupid question. I was HOOKED very early on, and drawn into the story. The White Ship was amazing!
The author begins by taking us through William the Conqueror’s story, the following kings, and the hardships that followed. We end up with Henry – who had worked hard to ensure that the monarchy was secure. His son, William, was destined to take the throne after his father, but after years of warfare, hard-earned respect, and finally recognition from France, it seemed that everything was complete – bring on the golden years! Cue, the White Ship.
The youth aboard the White Ship was jovial, partying along with the crew, and celebrating. As they waited to embark on their short voyage to England, drinks were flowing. The crew, unfortunately, was just as drunk as the passengers. Instead of waiting for the following morning, the Captain decided to sail anyway, forgetting about the dangerous rocks at the beginning of the harbor. What happened would crush the aristocracy of England. It took some of the best and brightest of the future generations, tearing families apart, ending families, and destabilizing the monarchy itself.
After the tragedy, there was nothing good waiting for England, which after the death of the king, quickly was realized. While Henry had ensured that his daughter, Matilda, was sworn to be his heir after his death, her cousin, Stephen of Blois, raced to claim the crown instead. What followed were decades of warfare, tearing the country apart. When it seemed that Matilda finally had the crown in her hands, she alienated her support. She had to finally realize that she needed to fight for the rights of her son, not herself. With that realization, the tides of war changed. Stephen was finally forced to recognize the young Henry Fitzempress as his heir, finally bringing peace and harmony to the country.
My Review of The White Ship
I was absolutely blown away by this book. I hate that it took me so long to get through it. I enjoyed the breakdown of the history, the backstory of what led to the tragedy, and the unfortunate endings of the lives of so many promising youths.
For those who love history, this is one book that you need to read. Medieval history at its finest!