I've come to learn that despite the later kings calling themselves Plantagenets, historians peg these latter-day Kings as Lancasters or Yorks. But really, what kind of a survey book on the Plantagenets ends with Richard II? Now I have to get another book that deals with the War of the Roses, not that there aren't a lot to chose from.
Despite my disappointment at where the book stopped, I ended up liking The Plantagenets quite a bit. The chapters were short enough to read in bite-size chunks. This was a long reading project for me. One that I dipped into almost daily, but didn't read for a long time during any one day. I didn't want to inhale the material--I wanted to learn it, remember it, and enjoy it. I liked the author's approachable, readable style. He focused on the big stories, and didn't delve into minute detail about all the various aspects of a war, treaty, agreement, or policy. I felt like I got a good overview of the issues of the day, especially how the relationship between the king and his subjects evolved over time, and this was really the level I wanted.
I really enjoy reading historical fiction from this time frame, and I wanted a good overview before I started Sharon Penman's series of novels (although I have already read The Sunne in Splendour). I'm starting with When Christ and His Saints Slept. Here's the blurb from Penman's website:
In When Christ and His Saints Slept, the newest addition to her highly acclaimed novels of the middle ages, and the first of a trilogy that will tell the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, master storyteller and historian Sharon Kay Penman illuminates one of the less-known but fascinating periods of English history. It begins with the death of King Henry I, son of William the Conqueror and father of Maude, his only living legitimate offspring.