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The Courier's Tale Paperback – 2 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408810425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408810422
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A splendind debut' -- FT, AN Wilson

'Thoughtful...witty...and well worth the read.'
-- Daily Mail

A fascinating novel -- The Tablet

'If you loved Wolf Hall, you will delight in The Courier's Tale; this is a marvelous story, told with style, wit and wisdom: a most compelling novel.' --Carmen Callil

Book Description

Like the Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, The Courier's Tale is set in the treacherous worlds of the English court of Henry VIII, where Thomas Cromwell holds sway, and Machiavellian Italy.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In most histories of England, or English histories of kings and rulers of the Tudor times, characters such as Reginald Pole exist on the periphery. Born in 1500, he was related to King Henry VIII, being a grand-nephew of both Edward IV and Richard III. His mother, the 8th Countess of Salisbury, was the daughter of George of Clarence (brother to Edward IV and Richard III), and was, from all accounts, a valued and loyal lady in waiting to Henry VIII's first wife, Katherine of Aragon. But for all her title and heritage, the family was not a happy one. Henry VIII did not care for those who opposed him, and Margaret Pole and her family did not wholeheartedly support Henry. Reginald Pole was a figure who Henry would have dearly liked to have on his side in the annulment of his marriage to Katherine, but Pole would not oblige. While at first he appeared to support Henry's authority, he soon came down firmly on the side of the Roman Catholic church, and spent the rest of his life avoiding Henry's ire, largely from exile in Italy and other European cities. Pole was a learned man who had a wide range of equally learned men and women in his circle, and his opinion counted in Renaissance Europe - he attended not only Henry VIII, but Emperor Charles V and the Papal Court. Even after the death of Henry in 1547, Pole was still not safe to return to England; nor indeed was he always safe in Europe, as assassins and rumours still dogged him wherever he went. After Mary Tudor became Queen in 1553 and returned England to the Roman Church, Pole, by then a Cardinal, returned to England as the Papal Legate and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1556. From then until his death in November 1558, twelve hours after Queen Mary's death, Pole was a highly regarded member of Mary's Council.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. A. Scott on 2 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
I started this book yesterday as the first of a 2012 challenge - to read 52 books between now and the end of the year ! I'm already half way through and loving it ! Tudor history from a different angle. I think it's well written, and clearly the author has done his research, as already said in another review by his friend ! It makes a great change to the (often) bodice-ripping Tudor yarns that we usually see !!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm of St Leonards on 29 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are lots of novels about the Tudors coming out all the time, and each one tries to differentiate itself by having its own special angle. Usually it's by turning a traditional bad guy into a good guy (as in Wolf Hall) or vice versa. In this case, the angle is to put the spotlight on Reginald Pole and his "courier" (the narrator of the story). Most of it is set in Italy and that's a point in its favour since sixteenth-century Italian settings can't really go wrong. But it is very dull. The pretentious philosophising by Pole and assorted Italian intellectuals only adds to the pain. I don't know how, or why, I finished it - something to do with travelling at the time and not having anything else handy for airports and trains.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By BCathcart on 27 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
Let me come clean: the writer of this book is a friend of mine. I am convinced, however, that I would have loved it whatever name was on the cover. It's just great: Henry VIII, art, popes, Italy, burnings at the stake, ideas, Michelangelo, intrigue, horses, books, love, religion and fear. And not only is it a good tale, it is also beautifully written -- witty and humane, without a hackneyed phrase to be seen.
If you liked Wolf Hall you may be in for a shock, for Thomas Cromwell comes out of this badly, but I happen to know that the research has been exhaustive. I galloped through The Courier's Tale in little more than one (working) day -- on the Tube, in the bus, into the small hours. (It's shorter than Wolf Hall too.) Buy it and my friend will be pleased; read it and you will be too.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By WHall on 30 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
This novel is brilliant.It's a beautifully written, historically accurate narrative that works on a number of different levels. Not only an enlivening account of a fascinating period of European and indeed Religious history,'The Couriers Tale' is also a moving human story of an 'ordinary' person who by the nature of being a courier between Rome and London is witness to extraordinary events. Walker's prose is fresh, clear, funny and nuanced with perceptive vignettes about the nature of being a human being, both in the sixteenth century and today. By far the best book I have read this year-buy it for your Autumn evenings.
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