Pero López de Ayala’s Chronicle of King Pedro provides a compelling and richly informative account of the turbulent reign of the notorious but enigmatic fourteenth-century Castilian monarch who came to be known as Pedro el Cruel. It is a vitally important source for our understanding of the history of the Iberian Peninsula during this critical period in its development and of the complex social and political divisions by which the Spanish kingdoms were torn. This three-volume Chronicle gives us a gripping and wide-ranging picture of a period characterized by harsh brutality, conflict and betrayal but at the same time by the ideals of chivalry, memorably personified in figures such as the Black Prince and Bertrand du Guesclin. At its centre is the chilling portrait of King Pedro, a brilliantly constructed image of self-destructive evil. The translation is accompanied by a Spanish text taken from Germán Orduna’s groundbreaking edition and by detailed notes. The introduction explores the background to the Chronicle’s composition and sets López de Ayala’s account against a broad canvas of events in the Spanish kingdoms and beyond. It examines how the chronicler’s subtle artistry was used to create a picture of a deeply flawed monarch which has continued to exercise a profound fascination over the centuries.
'The publication of Peter Such’s excellent English translation of Pero López de Ayala’s fourteenth-century Crónica del rey don Pedro [...] is welcome news. The translator includes extensive endnotes aimed at enlightening readers about the significance of individuals, places, names, events etc., mentioned in the narrative. Needless to say, this added context is an invaluable asset for both the dedicated researcher and as well as the more casual history buff. [It] is a tour de force and a must-have acquisition for all serious university and research libraries throughout the English-speaking world.'
Clara Estow, Bulletin of Spanish Studies