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The Lady In The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (Queen of England Series) [Paperback]

Alison Weir
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

On 2 May, 1536, in an act unprecedented in English history, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. On 15 May, she was tried and found guilty of high treason and executed just four days later. Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading up to her arrest - did Henry VIII instruct Thomas Cromwell to fabricate evidence to get rid of her so that he could marry Jane Seymour? Did Cromwell, for reasons of his own, construct a case against Anne and her faction, and then present compelling evidence before the King? Or was Anne, in fact, as guilty as charged?

Never before has there been a book devoted entirely to Anne Boleyn's fall; now in Alison Weir's richly researched and impressively detailed portrait, we have a compelling story of the last days of history's most charismatic, controversial and tragic heroines.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712640177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712640176
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alison Weir lives and works in Surrey. Her books include Britain's Royal Families, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Children of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary, Queen of Scots and Isabella: She-Wolf of France.

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"One of our best popular historians...with an impressive scholarly pedigree in Tudor history" (Independent on Sunday)

"It is testament to Weir's artfulness and elegance as a writer that The Lady in the Tower remains fresh and suspenseful, even though the reader knows what's coming... One of the pleasures of The Lady in the Tower is that it invites the reader into the historiographical process as Weir's emphasis on primary sources allows us to evaluate them alongside her" (Independent)

"Weir...knows her sources well. She writes in an engaging way and adopts an even-handed approach" (Irish Times)

"This is vintage Weir: a thrilling episode of history superbly related and treated with penetrating analysis and a great dollop of common sense" (Jessie Childs Literary Review)

"The research is exhaustive... It would be hard to imagine a more thorough examination of any comparable historical issue... Weir is to be congratulated on her impartiality and sound judgement" (BBC History Magazine)

Book Description

A compelling story of the last days of one of history's most charismatic, controversial and tragic heroines - Anne Boleyn.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lady tells it well 7 May 2010
I love Alison Weir's books and have read or purchased most of them. I have a real, enthusiastic love for this period in history and I have always found Weir's books to be eminently easy to read and not too stuffy or academic.

I have always had a fascination for Anne Boleyn and have read many books on her life, rise, fall and death, but this one was really refreshing. It charted the lives of those around her in more detail without going down the route of solely focusing on the Katherine/Henry/Anne triangle which has happened in other books. I liked that this centred on Anne and gave some really interesting detail on her trial, the evidence of the men convicted with her and, most especially, her final days in the Tower and her execution. I felt it really brought her back to life and you could get a palpable sense of her fear and anxiety as you read how she prepared for her execution, only to find it postponed.

I also liked the section on the young Elizabeth as I often think she's a little forgotten in the momentous events surrounding her mother. I always think it's terribly poignant that Elizabeth forever wore a ring with a secret portrait of Anne in it, which was only discovered on Elizabeth's death.

I found the chapter on the Victorians exhuming the bones in the Tower Chapel fascinating and I also liked the 'myth and ghost' section at the end which was different and shows how enduring Anne's story has become.

Anne's was such a meteoric rise and spectacular fall that it makes for eternal fascination. Alison Weir's writing, I think, will make that life so much more accessible and ensure that we don't forget this remarkable woman.
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115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read 5 Mar 2010
Before this book I had never read any of Alison Weir's previous work, though Anne Boleyn's story has captivated me since studying the Tudor period in school, so when I saw a write-up of this book in a national newspaper I knew I had to read it. I wasn't at all disappointed.

I thought I knew quite a bit about Anne Boleyn. The story of her refusal to sleep with Henry VIII until they were married (or until they knew they could marry), to their marriage and then the birth of arguably Britain's greatest Queen, are all well documented via TV documentaries and the like, so I wasn't sure what I would learn from this book, but in focusing on Anne's fall, Weir has cast new light on what has to be one of the darkest periods of English history. Instead of the run-of-the mill 'she was set up' scenario we so often see, Weir examines all the evidence available and delves far below the surface.

There were times when I felt that Weir was implying that Anne was guilty, her refusal to commit to the idea that the charges against Anne were trumped up caused some frustration. On the other hand I found myself asking the very question Weir herself deals with late in the book, i.e. what could Anne have gained from hooking up with any of her co-accused, she was already married to the most powerful man in the country, who, even if his passion had faded, could still protect her from her enemies? That is what I think Weir does so well with this book, she makes the reader think and question everything for themselves rather than blindly following her lead.

The details of the sort men Rochford, Brereton, Weston, Norris and Smeaton were was almost completely new to me, and fascinating.
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123 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windows onto history 1 Oct 2009
Meticulously researched, pithily written and with creative flair, Alison Weir turns in a wonderful close-up study of Anne Boleyn's fall.

One of Weir's hallmarks is her use of "mini-biographies," diverging from her main storyline to give lifelines and personality traits of the characters. Rather like "Windows" on a computer: a window is opened into another life, as it becomes relevant. There are judicious snapshots of the five men accused of adultery with Anne. George Boleyn (her own brother, Viscounnt Rochford), Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton, Mark Smeaton. After filling in their background, Weir indicates how each was involved in some sort of illegality, or corruption, or had managed to arouse the jealousy of Thomas Cromwell, Henry's secretary, who orchestrated the trial against Anne.

Throughout the book, Weir masterfully uncovers motivations, starting at the top with Henry VIII, Cromwell, and the leading contemporary churchmen. She identifies Henry's affair with Jane Seymour as a pivotal element used by Anne's enemies to topple her. Then she also investigates the ready disloyalty of Anne's own ladies-in-waiting.

As with all Anne Boleyn biographies we get the fineries of the trials, though mercifully the bloody details are kept to a minimum as this book is focusing on Anne. However Weir does adduce medical evidence to show, with terrible pathos, that a person may feel pain for several moments after execution.

Some of the most riveting material follows Anne's beheading. In the last third of the book we learn the fates of such participants as Thomas Cromwell (executed a mere four years later), Thomas Wyatt, and Anne's sister-in-law Jane Boleyn (Lady Rochford), who provided damning testimony.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A life of Anne Boleyn
The demand for the Tudors seems inexorable. This is a detailed study of the closing days of the life of Anne Boleyn by one of our most popular and successful writers of the period. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Douglas Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 24 days ago by LILLY GRAHAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for those who need historical content
This book is incredibly detailed. Great for those who need historical content. Students and the like. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jasponic
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Arrived promptly. Very good book
Published 2 months ago by Hayley Frankham
5.0 out of 5 stars Alison Weir
One of the great history writers of our time..Wonderful read,absorbing subject....she gets right into the period and under the fabric of the times.. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Johannessen-Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book
I love reading books by this author and this is no exception, could not put it down new concept on historical facts.
Published 5 months ago by Judy Aspinall
5.0 out of 5 stars Book lover
I found this service to be excellent and will certainly use it again. I did not know what to expect when I ordered what is, after all, a second hand book, but I am more than... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jean
4.0 out of 5 stars Our History in Depth
A very in depth account about one of the bloodiest periods in English history. A heavy read but one that portrays with great accuracy every detail of the conniving that went on... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dudley Boothroyd
4.0 out of 5 stars In depth account of the Lady's fall
Having a strong interest in this period in history, particularly of women and the parts they played, this book was a must for me. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pepper
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Really enjoyed this backed up by historical research and lots of references. Almost makes one feel sorry for Miss Boleyn .
Published 10 months ago by Veronica Weir
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