I have read and thoroughly enjoyed several of Margaret Campbell Barnes' historical novels. They are extremely well written and very readable; and they rest well on the shoulders of correct historical research and information. Although it is now quite some years since they were originally published, they do not read as at all dated; in fact, their accuracy, and sharp witty writing are preferable to many instances of `modern' historical novels.
This book is very interesting in that it gives the perspective on Henry VIII's reign from the perspective of Will Somers, Henry's Court Fool. This was a very well-respected position in a medieval court, and Will had the run of much of Henry's Court. He was thus privy to many conversations and secrets that others in the Court would not have known of. This is a good device in such a novel to be able to share directly with the readers, the contemporary impressions of the time, and the upheaval when Henry looked to be rid of his wife Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Of course, this was not the end of Henry's marital adventures, and Will Somer was there for the remainder of Henry's reign, and into Edward VI's and Mary's reigns as well, before his death in 1560.
I am not aware of the romantic side of Will's life which is portrayed in this book, and have no idea if that is historically correct or not. However, generally the book is true to history as it is known, and the characters of the time are well-presented in this book - Cromwell, Wolsey, Cranmer, and others whose names dot the Tudor landscape.
This is a great story; although you may have often heard of Henry VIII's life and times, this book offers a new perspective. Events that are covered extensively in historical non-fiction books of Henry VIII are covered briefly in these reminisences of Will; it is a book of Henry's contemporary, written by a man who lived in his court, and saw the `real' Henry; and the events that are magnified in this story are those that were important to Henry and Will, not the pages of history.
Highly recommended, as are all of Margaret Campbell Barnes' books.