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The King's Curse (COUSINS' WAR) Hardcover – 14 Aug 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 861 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; First Edition edition (14 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857207563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857207562
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 4.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (861 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"[A] gripping and detailed chronicle, with plenty of court intrigue and politics to spice up the action . . . . Highly recommended." --"Library Journal "(starred review)

"Margaret's story is shocking, deeply moving and offers an alternative view on a much-told tale. Gregory is on form here; her depiction of Henry VIII's transformation from indulged golden boy to sinister tyrant is perfectly pitched and seems more horrific still when we are made intimate witnesses to the devastation of Margaret's family. . . . I defy anyone to remain dry-eyed as the story reaches its tragic denouement."--"The Sunday Express (UK)"

"Infuses vitality into an oft-forgotten player in the aftermath of the War of the Roses--Margaret Poole, heiress to the defeated Plantagenet clan."--"Closer " --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the international bestseller The Other Boleyn Girl, which became a major film starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. She has written several bestselling novels set in the Tudor period and The Cousins' War series which is to be a major TV production. This book is the first of a new series of novels set in medieval Europe: Order of Darkness. Philippa's other great interest is the charity that she founded nearly twenty years ago: Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 160 wells for the primary schools of this poor African country. A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year at Edinburgh University, her love of history is the hallmark of her writing. She lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire. She welcomes visitors to her site

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
4.5 stars

A fitting conclusion to the Cousins' War series.
Philippa Gregory can count herself almost single-handed ly responsible for reviving a keen national interest in the Plantagenets and Tudors with these books and allowing us mere mortals to even halfway comprehend the family relationships and detailed chronology of this bloody and turbulent period in our history.

To summarise the story would be tricky as it's full of huge families of names and events. But if you remember the brother (one of the Three Sons of York) who decided to be drowned in a vat of alcohol (George), then you'll be off to a good start. Margaret is his daughter, and our narrator. She is perfectly placed to witness much of the next half century's political change. Forced into a marriage her fortunes fall and rise as Henry Tudor makes way for his son Henry VIII, after the death of first son Arthur.

It's fifty years of our history and 600 pages are filled with names, dates, treason, execution and manoeuvring. It's never dull. There are several very useful family trees and a (too short!) note at the end from the author.

Margaret's life is fascinating, I learned huge amounts (who knew how the Sweating Sickness came to England?!). Henry's reign is portrayed in detail you won't have studied in school. And characters you may have thought you liked I. History may not be so palatable now. Henry's early promise giving way to paranoia, spoiled indulgent whims and Dangerous temper is well-drawn and frightening. The note from the author about a potential medical condition illuminating.

Two small negative points. Time doesn't seem to pass in the story in some ways: Margaret seems almost ageless until near the end, when at 62 you finally see she is getting old.
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Format: Hardcover
I have never spent quite so long reading a book before - and that is mainly because of the grim-ness of the read and the fact that I knew how it would end. I almost willed it to end differently - but of course, it couldn’t and was in fact even more grim that I expected.

Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury had fulfilled many functions in her long life. First as member of the royal family of Plantagenet’s - her Uncle being King Edward IV and her father being George Duke of Clarence. But in an instant a Plantagenet’s life can change - the title going from Royal to ‘Dangerous’. In a short period of time, she had lost her mother, father, uncle, brother and must have sighed with dismay with each son she gave birth to as their very existence spelled danger for them all. Gregory makes this very clear in her story telling as well as providing some wonderful period detail which made the book come to life for me.

Without going into further detail of the extraordinary woman’s life it is worth noting that Philippa Gregory’s story is very sympathetic to her even though I found myself shouting at the literary version of Queen Katherine of Aragon to ‘tell the truth about your virginity and go into a nunnery - it would have saved so much terrible upheaval if she had. Her failure to admit to the lie that Gregory had so perhaps unwisely portrayed for her made her a character that I could both weep for and yell at .

Gregory’s portrayal of Henry is grim. She makes no attempt at all to show he had a conscience or that he pondered over the monstrous decisions he took - and that is fair enough. As a historical novelise she can take any line she likes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel rounds off Philippa Gregory's latest series, and is one of the more fluid and accessible books featuring as it does the fate of the family of the tragic Duke of Clarence, one of the three sons of York and brother of two kings, Edward the Fourth and Richard the Third. In the post Bosworth period when reconciliation in the form of the marriage between Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York is the order of the day, the hopes of the entire country rest on the slender shoulders of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales. Margaret Plantagenet, Clarence's daughter and her conveniently humble husband are part of his household as he marries Catherine of Aragon and moves to Ludlow Castle, with fatal consequences both present and future. Margaret's own life in modest circumstances with five children to support changes dramatically when her husband dies and she finds herself in the wilderness financially and with none of the prestige that her family used to enjoy. The White Rose remains a permanent threat to Tudor ambitions and Margaret endures both the executions and exiles that are necessary to reduce the Plantagenet threat as much as possible.

She comes back to prominence in the household of Catherine of Aragon at the time of her second marriage to Henry the Eighth, Arthur's younger brother: a love match and one which promises great things. Sadly, Catherine's ability to produce a living male heir to the Tudor throne fails her time and again, leaving only one legitimate heiress in the form of Princess Mary. The upheavals of the divorce, the Boleyn marriage and its similarly unsatisfactory outcome seem to prove that the Tudor line is indeed cursed and doomed to die out.
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