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The Autobiography Of Henry VIII Paperback – 10 May 2012
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"A remarkable achievement...Magnificently researched and admirably written." --"Mary Stewart" "Her novel is a...banquet feast for most readers...astonishing. There's rousing drama, robust atmosphere and consistently solid characterization; and finally, Margaret George's triumph is anchored in the urgent rhythm her writing attains." --"Forth Worth Star Telegram" "It doth brim with lust, violence, cruelty and living conservation...Margaret George has found a new and fresh way to tell the story. --"Detroit Free Press"
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Crammed with historical fact, the author gives a fresh take on the best known English Monarch by penning his 'journal' and the research, writing style and pace make this a delight from start to finish.
At just over 900 pages it IS a 'big read' so some may wish to do as I did, and take a pause 'between wives' - although you get so gripped it is not always easy. I took time to read something different after the death of Ann Boylen, and likewise when Catherine Howard first appeared - but although I enjoyed the crime fiction I chose, I was longing to get back to Henry and his court. From the Cloth of Gold meeting with the French king to the loss of the Mary Rose, facts are wonderfully presented in a very human story of a flawed, but essentially powerful and well meaning King.
The King's fool, Will Somers, adds comments of his own to his masters 'journal' so that a rounder picture of events is made available.
This is an excellent book and a must for fans of historic novels.
Wow! There's never a dull moment with old Henry. Teenage King, always warring with France, cuts ties with Rome and changes the course of history just so he can get a divorce, six wives - two have their heads lopped off, one dies in childbirth, one is too ugly, one won't provide him with a son (tsk! what was she thinking?) and the other gets to mop up his gangrenous leg until he dies. Phew!!!
This is a fabulous book: long, but so worth it. Written from Henry's point of view so we get to see his life as he sees it. We all know what a bad-tempered tyrant he was supposed to have been, but in this book we get a glimpse at what may have made Henry make the decisions he made. He was born into royalty, taught to believe that he is above others (and boy, does he!) but we also see another side to him. There are times when I actually felt sorry for him; to be surrounded all your life by "yes-men" and never really knowing who you can trust must have been pretty tough even if you are surrounded by jewels and banquets all day long.
Not surprisingly, his poor wives come in for a pretty raw deal; but again it is written from Henry's point of view. Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard never stood a chance and Katherine of Aragon was treated appallingly in later life when the King decided that he wanted to move on to a younger model. No wonder when it came to searching for a new wife 4th time around, all the eligable young European princesses were hiding in the shadows.
This is a real tome of a book and one I enjoyed immensley. The fact that it took the author 15 years to research, I knew I was in safe hands with getting a wonderful peice of fiction based entirely on fact. I would highly recommend this to history fans. Big thumbs up for this one!
The notes by his fool are a clever addition and a way of putting right certain inacurracies on Henry's part or even to let the reader know the real feeling fo the people of the time, when Henry, cocooned in his Ivory Tower, gets it so wrong.
We read of Henry's adulation and obsession with Anne Bolyn which quickly turns to boredom, disappointment and loathing after the long awaited marriage. We see his cruel and cold side and his reasoning behind his actions. We read how his illness and old age affect him (like so many men!) once the virility of his youth start to pass him by. We see how he valued his close friendship with Brandon, yet when things went against him, quickly called rank on his closest friend. We read how women were perceived during this time and how outisde influences brought into Henry's court, could easily affect political decisions with clever manipulation.
I would like to read other 'autobiographies' of other Tudor Kings and Queens by this author who has a real skill in meeting fact with assumption and presumption so well. Highly recommended to all who are fascinated by the Tudor King.
I came to this book after reading Helen of Troy by the same author. I loved that book but I was unsure whether the author could produce a book of the same quality a second time. She definitely manages it with this. It has been extremely well researched but isn't just a book of boring facts and dates. I don't believe Henry was as nice as he is portrayed here but I understand why the author felt the need to soften some of his more questionable actions.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history. I've just ordered "The Memoirs of Cleopatra" so I'm hoping Margaret George does it again!