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You'd be a Fool to miss this one
on 16 December 2012
I've read a couple of other historical novels by this author, which were quite enjoyable, but not great. I had to review this after finishing this morning as it was so much better and a really rewarding read.
The novel covers the reign of Henry VIII from the point of view of Will Somers, the man who becomes the king's jester or fool. This gives the book a totally different twist and insight from something concentrating on the usual courtly suspects. Will is in the thick of things, with a front row seat in the course of history, if you like, but he's not one of the players in the drama.
The novel is actually written in the first person, and it's very rarely that I like this because in the hands of most authors it is clunky, but here I had to go back and check that this was so, as it seemed so natural.
Obviously, hindsight is a wonderful thing in history and some of the points made are from the point of view of someone with historical hindsight, but there's also a lot of psychological truth in there and you can quite clearly see why characters act the way they do.
Now, my only problem is that MCB was not a writer of authorial afterwords, like many present authors. What I really want to know is how much of the story is true (within the bounds of fictional probability!) and what is fiction/surmise - and what happened to Will Somers next?!