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The Last of Days [Hardcover]

Paul Doherty
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
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Book Description

6 Jun 2013

In the final days of Henry VIII, one man is there to witness the demise of a legend...

King Henry VIII, a fearsome figure of power and stature, lies upon his deathbed diminished by sickness and haunted by ghosts from his past. Only Will Somers, long-serving jester and confidant, sees all. While Henry is confined to his chamber, Will begins a journal that will document his King's last turbulent days.

The country is fraught with tension. And with the King's son and heir just nine years old, there are many power-hungry councillors who will stop at nothing to better themselves. Now as the King's health fails, rebellion threatens amidst widespread rumours of plots against him. With few allies remaining, will Henry himself become the final victim of his reckless, bloody reign?

Master historian Paul Doherty weaves his magic in an epic tale of murderous schemes and a blood-smattered political order.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755397843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755397846
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough (North-East England) in 1946. After A-levels, he went to Ushaw College in Durham for three years to study for the Catholic priesthood. In 1967, he was admitted to Liverpool University where he gained a First Class Honours Degree in History and won a state scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford. While there he met his wife Carla Lynn Corbitt. He continued his studies but decided that the academic world was not for him and became a secondary school teacher.

Paul worked in Ascot, Newark and Crawley, before being appointed as Headmaster to Trinity Catholic School, Woodford Green, Essex, in September 1981. Trinity is a large comprehensive (1700 on roll) which teaches the full ability range, ages 11-18. The school has been described as one of the leading comprehensives in the U.K. and has been awarded "Outstanding" in four consecutive OFSTED inspections. All seven of Paul and Carla's children have been educated at Trinity.

Paul's other incarnation is as a novelist. He finished his doctorate on the reign of Edward II of England and decided to start writing about the "undergrowth of history", beginning with THE DEATH OF A KING, published in 1985. Since then, Paul has written nearly 100 books and has published a series of outstanding historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical Greece, Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and are available in several formats, including large print, audio books, and more recently e-books.

He has been published under several pseudonyms: C. L. Grace, Paul Harding, Michael Clynes, Ann Dukthas and Anna Apostolou but now writes only under his own name. Paul has also written a number of non-fiction titles, among them: ISABELLA AND THE STRANGE DEATH OF EDWARD II, a scholarly study of The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303, THE SECRET LIFE OF ELIZABETH I, and a study of the mystery surrounding the death of Alexander the Great.
Paul lectures for a number of organisations, particularly on historical mysteries, many of which later feature in his writings. A born speaker and trained lecturer Paul loves to tell stories and "bring history to life."

Product Description

Book Description

In the final days of Henry VIII, one man is there to witness the demise of a legend... Master historian Paul Doherty weaves his magic in an epic tale of murderous schemes and a blood-smattered political order

About the Author

Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of Days 9 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is prolific author, Paul Doherty's, 100th novel and he turns his attention to the final days of Henry VIII. The story is told through the eyes of Will Somers, the king's long serving jester and confidant (coincidentally, author Margaret George also uses Will Somers as the narrator in her book about the life of Henry VIII The Autobiography Of Henry VIII.

The main part of the story takes place over the winter of 1546 and into the beginning of 1547. The king is sick, bloated and unhealthy - his eyes "bright with malice". As he sits, ulcers festering, swollen and suffering, he reminisces and justisfies his actions to Somers - his friend, enemy, confessor and whipping boy; who both loves and hates his master. Doherty recreates those times with deft ease, describing the fear, gossip and rumour that surrounds the king's sickness and worries about the succession. Around the Court, everyone begins to circle, waiting to see whether the king is really dying. Is his power waning, or is he still able to strike as he used to? There are a cast we are familiar with - the Howards, the Seymours, the Norfolks. The Queen, pining for Thomas Seymour, the king's daughters, unsure and waiting for news, and everyone jostling for power and position, making allegations, scheming and waiting for the king to die.

This is another great historical novel from a master of the genre. Highly enjoyable, well written, atmospheric and about an aspect of the Tudor story we are, perhaps, less familiar with. Let's hope that there are many more novels to come from this excellent author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab! 5 Nov 2013
By Mazoi
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Love Paul Doherty. Such a clever, clever man. The only author I can read on the subject of history. Great
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of Days 13 Aug 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
"There are occasion when Henry's soul simply dies; no hate, just nothing, a yawning cold emptiness."

I've read quite a lot of P C Doherty's books over the years, and always found them enjoyable. This book tells of the last months of Henry VIII's life, from November 1546, to the period after Henry's death, with an epilogue set some years later. Henry is portrayed wonderfully here; as a man of great contrasts whom people were drawn to love and to fear and hate. His mood changes, his power and his complete ability to draw a man to him and then immediately send him to the block are compellingly portrayed.

I note there is an error on page 3, where Edward Seymour is referred to as Earl of Warwick; in fact he was the Earl of Hertford at the time, 1546. John Dudley, Viscount Lisle was later Earl of Warwick (1547).

I like the way the book is written as a personal account; the journal entries of Will Somers, Henry's fools, offer a fresh and idiosyncratic way of looking at the events. This also means that we see the events of these months from Will's point of view; he obviously has a specific perspective on Henry's life (and death) as someone who has been part of his houshold for so many years - on the edge of power and yet peripheral to much that was going on in the Court and the kingdom.

This book, as are all of the author's, is well researched and well written; a compelling story, even one as familiar to many as the "last of days" of King Henry VIII. Thoroughly enjoyable; absolutely recommended, and I look forward to more from Mr Doherty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doherty scores again! 29 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once more Doherty takes you back in time and makes history come alive. After daughter and 2 young grandsons moved in I was in desperate need of a good escape read and this filled the bill nicely. Waiting for more from this prolific writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of Days 5 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was very pleased by the novel and by the delivery and can recommend the process to anyone who is thinking of ordering this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense historical drama 23 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The tale of Henry 8th's last days is told through the mouth of his jester who apparently was Henry's most important confidant.It tells of the behaviour of his closest courtiers during the final few months of Henry's life and how Henry actually died.Most of this is made up by Doherty to provide an interesting work of fiction so i don't think David Starkey will be too worried. A must for Doherty fans and highly recommended to anyone else.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of details on atmosphere; little plot 17 Jun 2013
By Annie W
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed most of Paul Doherty's works, I looked forward to receiving this venture into the final days of Henry VIII, and have to admit it left me very disappointed. The Kindle edition does not have pages, but, at 20% read, we still hadn't got beyond Will Somers' notes in his journal, and they made pretty turgid reading. The occasional phrase took me back to the personality of Roger Shallot, in the series written as Michael Clynes, but I have to agree with the reviewer given a review copy that the characterisation is not up to Dr Doherty's usual standard, and it was hard to feel anything towards any of the main protagonists. The first stirrings of life and involvement didn't appear until 33%. There were all the usual descriptions of life, sound, and smells of Tudor London, but the book was overly full of them, the padding seeming to replace the story, which was a very thin one, despite the excitement and trepidation which must have occupied all at Court, at whatever level, during those tempestuous days.

The tone of the writing seemed quite coarse, with what appeared like great delight on the author's part when describing in far too great - and unnecessary - detail the tortures, disembowellings, deaths by fire, cruelty to humans and animals and even Henry VIII's bowel movements! There was considerable information about life at the time, but, since no mention was made about people's incomes, I felt the list of costs for differing foodstuffs was rather pointless - and why were the prices listed as 8p, 5p, etc: would they not have been "d"??

While accustomed to seeing words such as 'samite' used, I had doubts that 'capathol water', 'rasis', or 'craul' actually served any useful purpose, but, rather, distanced the reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tudor Conspiracies
Great stuff from Paul Doherty! He transports you back to another era with such skill it's as if you're really there!
Published 1 month ago by Wendy Love
5.0 out of 5 stars A frightening nest of villains
What a frightening nest of villains, and all real! Paul Doherty has resurrected these nasties from the 1540s to create a gripping novel of intrigue, ambition and murder. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I really enjoyed this book. Seeing things from Henry's Fools eyes, and just how spiteful and nasty he really was. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars How can you not like this one
Paul Doherty carries on with his great talent for storytelling with another superb offering which is hard to put down till you have reached the last page
Published 3 months ago by Jesse R
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating End of Henry VIII's Days!
This fine book tells the story of King Henry VIII's final days narrated by his long-serving jester and confidant Will Somers. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anastatius
4.0 out of 5 stars A safe approach to Henry VIII
Doherty's apparent loathing of Henry VIII has always been great fun. Here everything is darker than the Shallot but the thesis is the same. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ian mcintosh
3.0 out of 5 stars Won't become a favourite, I'm afraid
This is the first Paul Doherty book I have read. I think I might have been better waiting for the paperback as I'm not sure that it justifies the cost of a hardback. Read more
Published 10 months ago by EleanorB
5.0 out of 5 stars A really super read
As usual a class act from the most underrated historical novelist in the UK. It contains a brilliant view of Tudor England that engrossed me from start to finish. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jack Sprat
2.0 out of 5 stars Readable, but odd
All credit to Paul Doherty who, according to the blurb, has found the time to be a headmaster while writing no less than 100 novels. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bookwoman
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