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The Queen's Fool Mass Market Paperback – 4 May 2004

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (4 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007147295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007147298
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The bitter enmity between Elizabeth the First and Mary Tudor, the daughters of Henry VIII (not to mention the conflict between their mothers Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon) makes the squabbles between modern-day royals seem small beer indeed. This is particularly clear after reading something as enjoyable as Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, which treats the period and its turbulent sweep with an almost operatic grandeur. In The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory delivered a tremendous popular success and lifted this kind of popular historical writing from the realms of romantic fiction to something rich in authentic drama and convincing historical verisimilitude.

Mary and Elizabeth, the two young princesses, have a common goal: to be Queen of England. To achieve this, they need both to win the love of the people and learn how to negotiate dangerous political pitfalls. Gregory recreates this era with tremendous colour, and she makes the court an enticing but danger-fraught place. Into this setting comes the eponymous fool, the youthful Hannah, who (despite her air of guileless religiousness) is not naive. She soon finds herself having to deal with the beguiling but treacherous Robert Dudley. Dispatched to report on Princess Mary, Hannah discovers in her a passionate religious conviction (to return England to the rule of Rome and its pope) that will have fatal consequences.

From Tolstoy's War and Peace onwards, historical novelists have set fictitious characters among real-life personages with mixed success; the author's creations can often pale beside the historical figures. That is emphatically not the case here, and Gregory ensures that all her characters have a full and teeming life. Expect a major movie: something as colourful and exuberant as The Queen's Fool is a natural for screen adaptation. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for Philppa Gregory:

‘Gregory's research is impeccable which makes her imaginative fiction all the more convincing’ Daily Mail

‘Gregory is great at conjuring a Tudor film-set of gorgeous gowns and golden-lattered dining. She invokes some swoonsome images…while the politics are personal enough to remain pertinent’ Daily Telegraph

‘Subtle and exciting’ Daily Express

‘Written from instinct, not out of calculation, and it shows’
Peter Ackroyd, The Times

‘For sheer pace and percussive drama it will take a lot of beating’ Sunday Times

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The girl, giggling and overexcited, was running in the sunlit garden, running away from her stepfather, but not so fast that he could not catch her. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Jaclyn on 18 May 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are thinking about reading The Queens Fool you might like to know the chronological order of Philippa Gregory's books about the Tudor Court:-

The Constant Princess
The Other Boleyn Girl
(Read the book, the film misses out so much)
The Boleyn Inheritance
The Queen's Fool
The Virgins Lover
The Other Queen

Once I start to read these books I can't put them down.
I didn't think I was going to like The Queen's Fool as it was not directly about one of Henrys wives or daughters.
However Hannah Verde creeps slowly into your affections as the Royal Confidant and Holy Fool who falls for Robert Dudley who lovingly refers to her as 'Mistress Boy' Hannah nearly pays for that devotion with her life. when she is asked to use her gift of 'sight' to look into the future and advise of coming illness, death, births and ill doings in the royal household. Who will benefit and who will fall..only Hannah can provide the answers, but she plays a dangerous game.

Full of mystery and intrigue Hannah takes you from the bedside of the ailing Queen Mary to the frivolities at Hampton Court where the young Princess Elizabeth is waiting for her moment to be crowned the new Queen of England.

Will Hannahs loyalties cost her the chance to find once more the husband she walked out on and then too late realised was the love of her life.
Beginning with the demise of Kateryn Parr and endng with the death of Queen Mary and the first years of Elizabeths reign, this book is a must have holiday read, I loved it.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Stella TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 May 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Long story, cut short.....Hannah Verde, Spanish, Jewish, settles in England with her father after their flight from the Spanish Inquisition, given over to the Royal court of young King Edward as his Holy Fool, on his death she transfers to Queen Mary as her fool and here the story begins.....

This is my third Philippa Gregory and as expected it is a solid story, but not on the same par as her Bolyen books. I felt as though I learned quite a lot about Queen Mary, who as the book progressed seemed to get more and more unhinged, and it's no surprise she earned the name 'Bloody Mary'. Elizabeth was portrayed as thouroughly unlikeable and self serving and I don't doubt that she was all that and more and even the main players at court were just as I imagined them to be; fickle, scheming, underhand, greedy and manipulative, but it was the main character who really spoiled things for me. No matter what situation was unfolding, Hannah was always right there in the thick of things and after a while she really started to grate on me.

She didn't have a bad word to say about anybody, regardless of how horribly they treated her, and she kept going back for more of the same. I realise she wouldn't have had a lot of say in matters regarding how she was put to use by her employers but one minute she's litterally wetting herself as she's about to be tortured as a heritic because Mary has a bee in her bonnet (to put it mildly) about non Catholics, even though she considers Hannah her trusted friend....then the next minute Hannah is all doe eyed at Mary's feet and defending her against any just doesn't make sense. She has the means to escape and put it all behind her, but she does everything in her power to stay.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
When i first read(and i say first because it remains to be one of my most loved and read books) The other Boleyn Girl i was obsessed with the success this book had on me. Phillipa Gregory is a wonderful author who draws you into her story, allowing you to live as a character in her books, surveying the story as you read. she writes with such detail and you never get bored. When i heard that she was writing this book i ordered it in advance eager for its arrival and when i recieved it for christmas i was so excited. It was my first choice despite the eight other books i recieved and i was soon absorbed in Gregory's world of history. Despite The Other Bolyen Girl's success i felt that this novel,(although extremely good!!!)did not hold me as much as i had wished it to.
The characters are beautifully formed and described and the events never cease to surprise you. Gregory captures the true rivalry perfectly between the sisters, and you are left feeling terribly sorry for Mary,entranced by Elizabeth and falling in love with the captivating Robert Dudley.
Although i name this book a recommended read i also advise readers to read 'The Other Boleyn Girl'(and if you have read it again!!!) because i feel it captures the reader slightly more and the storyline is such an intriguing piece of history.
Overall view of this novel= very good read yet slightly disappointing following the success of other novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graceann Macleod on 11 Aug. 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Philippa Gregory weaves a very different tale with a completely fictional narrator, young Hannah Green. As other reviews have noted, Hannah and her father flee the Spanish Inquisition, and start a new life in London, where she is discovered as having the gift of "Sight" by none other than Robert Dudley, who presses her first into service for the young King, thus beginning of a life of courtly intrigue.

As always, Gregory writes compellingly and interestingly, and I kept turning the pages because I wanted to know how it would all turn out. I give this book four stars instead of five due to its abrupt ending and due to Hannah's ever-changing loyalties and attitudes. It was difficult to take her seriously when she pledged eternal devotion on one page and conveniently forgot it on the next. This was a very interesting take on Queen Mary, however, giving her far more sympathy than I was expecting to see. It is easier to understand how she was conflicted by her duties to her God and to her Country, as heinous and inexcusable as her policies happened to be.
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