The House of Percy resounds throughout Shakespeare's history plays, the Wars of the Roses, the Hundred Years' War, and the ceaseless Anglo-Scottish Wars. In the Middle Ages, the earls of Northumberland were famed, or notorious, as the Kings in the North, a harsh land they ran almost as an hereditary domain. Alexander Rose traces the history of this ancient and sometimes haughty dynasty, from the moment William de Percy stepped into England alongside William the Conqueror to the waning of the medieval era after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.


 “It’s stirring stuff, often swashbuckling in Rose’s narrative effects, and none the worse for that in a popular history of a neglected and underrated area of British history.”The Times

“Rose’s book skillfully entwines the story of this family with the wider history of medieval England and Scotland (and France—Percys were prominent in the Hundred Years War) as their kings jostled for territory and power . . . a gripping panorama of medieval history"The Sunday Times

“Rose has an impressive, nay indefatigable, eye for detail . . . For the most comprehensive account of the rise of the Percys, this is the book. For once, one cannot complain about lack of ‘context.’ It is here in such abundance that Kings in the North almost doubles as a single-volume History of Medieval England.”The Sunday Telegraph

“There is no doubt that Alexander Rose’s sweep across the centuries from the arrival of William, first Baron Percy, with the conquering Normans, to the murder of Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland in 1489, is an extraordinary magnum opus, knitting together the skeletal facts about the Percys into an ambitious retelling of Anglo-Scottish history.”BBC History

“What Rose has to say about the political and social history of England is interesting, well-informed and perceptive.”The Guardian

“In a recent Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II, the young Henry Percy, Hotspur, burst on to the stage in black battledress, armed with a sub-machine gun and festooned with ammunition belts. Alexander Rose displays similar enthusiasm in tackling the history of the Percy family in the Middle Ages.”Times Literary Supplement (TLS)