I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
So this is less about Henry, Richard, Geoffrey and John than it is about the male line of the Plantagenets. It actually goes all the way up through Richard II. Less than half the book is actually devoted to the demon spawn of Eleanor and Henry. Nor does the book even start with these four, but goes back a couple generations before them.
Okay, that last part is in jest because they're not actually demon spawns but these guys pretty much gave no fucks and would fight any and everyone, each other and their father included. Such were the times though so, whatevs.
I feel like the subtitle needs to be axed, given that the book is about several Plantagenet princes and not just my girl Eleanor's four sons. Then, the title works. Otherwise, all the extra material needs to be axed to focus on those four that the subtitle refers to. The material is not all-encompassing and there is plenty to say about each son. All have full-length biographies devoted to them, often more than one (and I own several), so content is not the issue.
Except, now that I think about it, maybe Geoffrey doesn't? Or maybe I have just not found one yet? Or bothered to look.
As a whole, the research is thorough and accurate. Boyd hits the main points one should know about many of those in the male line.
For those who have an in-depth knowledge of the Plantagenets, you can skip this one. You will find nothing new here. In that regard the book could easily be a four star read.
As someone well-versed in all the tomfoolery of those four boys especially, and their parents as well, it was not what I expected given the subtitle. Those of you in the same boat as me can skip this one, unless you need a quick refresher.
Recommended for those with limited Plantagenet knowledge looking to learn more.