Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 11 October 2010
With 'The Tudors' bringing the life of Henry the 8th to a wider audience on TV, (whilst at the same time causing my historian brother to beat his head against the table!!!) and the excellent 'Wolf Hall' winning both critical and reader aclaim, there is much interest in the larger than life monarch and this book is a joy for anyone interested to learn more.

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.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 June 2012
I loved the format of this book and really felt that had Henry written his biography, then this really would be how he thought. Of course, he didn't, and we will never know what really went through his mind, but, the author, in my opinion, has researched so thoroughly, she really gets into the mind of this great king.

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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 1 June 2009
"I'm Henry VIII, I am, I'm Henry VIII I am, I am!"

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!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 April 2013
I decided to read this book as I had read quite a bit about the Tudors recently and hoped that the story would maybe give me a fresh view of Henry's reign.

I would have to say I was disappointed. I enjoyed the first part and found it a pretty easy going read, even entertaining. In hindsight this is perhaps because I was quite ignorant of Henry's life prior to ascending the throne. However thereafter I found the book pretty hard going and major historical developments seemed to be quite clumsily introduced, sometimes in quite an incredible fashioin. For instance I found the idea of Henry wandering in on Cromwell in one of his palaces to discover a stash of prohibited texts difficult to believe. Accordingly, I found that these certain details undermined the credulity of the whole novel.

However, my view is tainted by my other reading and I daresay that others, particularly those coming to this topic for the first time will find it a good introduction.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 January 2013
This book took me 11 weeks to read! It is big! There were times when I read through really fast and when I couldn't put it down and others that slowed. However, I realy enjoyed this book and it is interesting to imagine the events of Henry Viii's life through his own perspective. There were times when I disliked the guy and times when I really felt for him, overall I have ended up with a much softer opionon of him being a much troubled man with a difficult life and not having the right personal tools and skills to deal with it. It was very interesting to see him aging over time and becoming reflective and affected by the previous acts of his life. I was disappointed that the relationship with Katherine Parr seemed so distant - I guess this may have been the case but it was portreyed differently to the traditional view of her as his nurse. I will need to investigate this relationship a bit more I think! I definately recommend this book as a great historical fiction account of his life and whilst it took me a long time to read it was definately worth persevering with and spending all that time and energy on!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 September 2013
This book is brilliantly written. I first bought it five years ago and my copy is now so tattered due to the amount of times I've read it that I've had to buy it again!

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!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 14 April 2008
I first aquired this book maybe 16 or more years ago, and it wasn't new then, but came from a sale of public library books ! (I got many bargain reads from them, in the days when money was tight!). I must have read it at least once a year from then on, as it was one of my favourite winter reads curled up in an armchair in front of the fire !
Ok, so it isn't accurate, as some would wish, and get quite annoyed over! but this a a NOVEL, not a biography and should be treated a such, and many thanks to Margaret George, it is a darn good one.
It is a very long book as it covers Henrys' life from literally birth to the grave, with asides by his Jester. It is full of colour of the court of the greatest King of all time and the biggest monster in old age. It keeps your interest from first to last page, I am now going to invest in a new copy, as the old one has completely disintergrated from so much use !
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 9 January 2018
Really pleased with delivery.. haven’t managed to read it as every time I open the book it smells so bad!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 February 2018
Quite a heavy book but interesting to read, especially of you like history with a story too.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 July 2017
Loving this book, feels like I am there ,so pleased I brought The Autobiography of Henry VIII.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here