"Religious upheaval and dissent peppers Ackroyd s enjoyable book as lavishly as it coloured the reigns of Henry and all three of his children... Peter Ackroyd relishes the period s colourful details... As so often in Ackroyd s books there are irresistible small details of everyday life in historic London" --Daily Express (4-star review)
"Ackroyd delivers the grisly annals of Tudor persecutions with an eye for detailed pathos... Ackroyd evokes the purging of Catholic popular piety with a controlled, rueful passion... [He] neatly avoids imposing a 21st-century moral sensibility on the question of executions by warning against cultural anachronism... [A] superbly accessible and readable History of England" -- Financial Times
"Historian Peter Ackroyd clearly relishes the wicked glamour of the family which presided over the Reformation, saw off the Spanish Armada, founded the British Empire and left the country they ruled a great European power... The Tudors, as Ackroyd reminds us in this fluent and colourful second volume of his History of England, were more than just a dysfunctional ruling family. Some of our greatest names were true Tudors too... Such a shame that the Stuarts followed and ruined it all. That s a story for Ackroyd s next volume, and I can t wait" --Sunday Express
"[Ackroyd] has a matchless sense of place, and of the transformations of place across long stretches of time; he is also an inventive and playful English stylist... The central drama of the Tudor age was of course the break with Rome and the transformation of England over three generations into a Protestant stronghold. On this Ackroyd is refreshingly immune to some ingrained national myths"
"Of all the dynasties to occupy the English throne, none has imprinted itself more durably on the nation s consciousness than the Tudors... Peter Ackroyd s retelling of their tale forms the second volume of a planned six-volume history of England. This is the sort of Everest-sized project that few serious historians have attempted since the great Lord Macaulay in the 19th Century... The story moves forward in short, well-dramatised scenes. Plot lines and personalities are clearly drawn. And the focus rarely shifts from the world of the court that epicentre of conspiracy and intrigue. Ackroyd has a keen eye for the curious detail... Ackroyd refers to himself as a modern-day chronicler of the past, a recorder of specific moments and events and at this there is no doubting he is a master" --Mail on Sunday
"Well crafted... Ackroyd is at his most effective when tracing England's religious change" --Sunday Times
Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under 'Bloody Mary'. It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability. Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.