First published in the "First Folio" in 1623 and likely written in the 1590s, "King John" is one of William Shakespeare's best historical plays. It centers on the events of King John's reign of England during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. King John, son of Henry I of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, inherits the throne after the death of his older brother, King Richard I. John's claim to the throne is challenged by the King of France, Philip, who believes that John's young nephew, Arthur, is the rightful heir to the throne. King Philip threatens violence if John does not step down and Philip's claim is supported by Austria, who may have arranged Richard's death. With John and Philip fighting over who should wear the crown, a tumultuous series of alliances, betrayals, and murders follow. John is shown to be a harsh and brutal ruler who is willing to do anything to stay in power, including torture his own nephew. Shakespeare's "King John" is a classic tale of the struggle for power and influence in all its cold-blooded brutality. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper, includes annotations by Henry N. Hudson, and an introduction by Charles Harold Herford.