Summer of Blood

Published by HarperPress on 1st August 2009

Breathing new life into one of English history’s most colourful yet under-explored episodes, Dan Jones recreates the dangerous world of the fourteenth century, where pain, squalor, misery and disease formed the fabric of daily life. Yet this was also an era of humanity, charity and social responsibility; one which people genuinely believed could be made better. Jones shows how this world was both profoundly different and remarkably similar to our own.

The Peasants’ Revolt of the summer of 1381, led by the mysterious Wat Tyler and the visionary preacher John Ball, was one of the bloodiest events in British history. To finance an unyielding war with France, a reckless an oppresive tax was imposed upon the English lower orders. Ravaged by war, plague and tyranny, England’s villagers rose against their masters for the first time in history. Initial reisitance in the Essex village of Brentwood swiftly inspired the desire for revenge in other communities. The outcome of their brave and tragic rising changed England forever.

At the heart of the story is a fateful collision of servant and master, as the rural general Wat Tyler pitted his wits and his ragtag army against the 15-year-old King Richard II and his advisors, many of whom paid with the destruction of their property and, in many cases, their lives.

Summer of Blood is the first full account in a century of one of the most famous rebellions in history.