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margaret george
About the Author : Margaret George
Her background in science meant that only after thoroughly researching the literature and scholarship on Henry VIII would she embark on the novel itself. She sought the guidance of a Tudor historian at Washington University for a reading list, and proceeded from there.

It was actually fourteen years between her initial idea and the publication of The Autobiography of Henry VIII. The book made an impression for several reasons: first, because no one had ever written a novel sympathetic to the king before; second, because it covered his entire life from before birth until after his death, making it almost a thousand pages long, and third, because it was so fact-filled.

*hear an interview with the author and an excerpt from the book by clicking here

" Margaret George's hugely long, intensely romantic novel about Henry VIII is convincing, moving and (allowing a wide tolerance of romantic bias) faithful to the surviving evidence about Henry and the colorful personalities around him ...

The novel is written as henry's private journal, in which he lets the reader in on how he really felt and thought about his various wives, his ruthless treatment of his officials and courtiers, his mistresses, his daughter Mary, and so on. In each case the novelist contrasts henry's public attitudes - and the historical legends that have grown up around him - with his secret inner fears, doubts,contradictions and insights ... I found it compelling reading" by Carolly Ericson (Author of Great Harry)n
Submitted by: howardfan

Comments: an absolute delight, and to add,completely addicting.
George excels in this gritty, juicy and very factual novel which combines all the intrigue of court life and shows the good and bad in Henry VIII and all six of his wives. From second in line to his elder "weaker" brother Arthur who was heir to the throne originally, to boy king who married the Spanish princess against his father Henry VII's wishes, after he died.
The book describes Henry's descent into tyrant very gradually and introduces each character as influential in Henrys life, whether it be a humble monk or one of his closest comrades. The story begins with a letter from Henry's fool Will Somers who was appointed court jester very early on in his reign, the letter is to Catherine Carey, Mary Boleyns child and supposed "bastard" of Henry VIII. The book depicts thoughts from both Henry VIII and Will Somers, including a great epilogue written by will.

This book is possibly the best account in historical fiction ever to be written.
If you can rent it, borrow it or buy it, do it, whatever you can to get your hands on this piece of history with a twist to feast your eyes and your imagination on.

Margaret George certainly proved that it does not matter how long it takes to compose a novel, for it was well worth the wait.

Submitted by: MsSquirrly

Comments: A wonderful juicy read, written in the first person and so well researched, I can understand why it took so long to write (14 years). Margaret George describes everything in luscious detail, all the pageantry, feasts and intimate moments of a spectacular King. One who started out as an insecure prince and fell in love, fell in love, fell in love. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of what we are seeing on "the Tudors" has been adapted from this work. This novel about Henry shows him as a virile and attractive young man much like the series. Tudor enthusiasts will love this one but be warned it's huge book!

Submitted by:Antoinette2

Comments: Another entertaining novel by Margaret George, author of one of my favorites "The Memoirs of Cleopatra." Miss George does a good job researching her subjects and this "Henry VIII" reflects it in her fiction. Henry will never be one of those people you wish you could know. He's too much of a self-pitying, selfish, egocentric brat but this is a wonderful read.

Submitted by: SemperEadem

Comments: A good, large read. I loved her attempt at getting into the inner thoughts of Henry VIII, and the additions by Hal add a nice contrast to Henry's self-pitying, a weight equal to Henry's. It's definitely easy to see how people fell in love (and into fear) with Henry's majesty and personality. Best fiction on Henry that I have read.

Submitted by: queen_elizabeth_1533

Comments: This book was very entertaining, but compared with most of the other Tudor fiction books, it was pretty accurate. I think it showed Henry's personality well.

Submitted by: Katharine_fanatic

Comments: I thought the book was entertaining, but it didn't seem very accurate, and it was far too long. I also found the occasionally graphic sexual encounters to be rather repulsive in interrupting the flow of the book. But it did focus somewhat on Wolsey, which I appreciated, although I found Henry's take on Thomas More to be somewhat peculiar. He seemed to see him as a pest rather than a dear friend.

Submitted by: The_Lady_Alicia

Comments: On the whole this was a pretty good read although not as good as I had thought it would be. Parts of the book I found really exciting and I couldn't put it down, however there were other parts I felt were dragged out and quite boring. It was interesting to read something from Henry's point of view and the book ws obviously researched very very thoroughly. On the whole I would give it 7 out of 10.

Submitted by: Yddib.

Comments: I read this many years ago and found it brilliant. Totally captivating and it left me in awe of her talent.

Submitted by: Clumsyxheart

Comments:I picked up this book cause i am working on a project which will be told in this point of view. I have to say I enjoyed it. You got inside Henry's head. And got to know he's feelings. I even laughed and cried while reading. It's a good change from reading from the POV of the wives! =D

Submitted by LouiseTopp

I am reading this book from the start agian as I left it a little while. It's a very enjoyable book and starts with a letter written by the kings fools Will Sommers to Catherine Carey Knollys, who's mother was Mary Boleyn. It's very fascinating, and I hope to get to the end this time :)

Fiction - Mystery
About the Author: C.J. Sansom
C.J. Sansom is the author of the best selling Matthew Shardlake mysteries, about a reformist who works for Thomas Cromwell to uncover treasonous plots. "Sovereign" is the third in the series. "Revelation", next in the series, is due for release May 6, 2008.
Submitted by:Yddib

Comments:I am reading this at the moment. Wow! all I can say is what a talent! f you enjoy the thriller aspect this book is a must. Nearly every chapter is ended on a cliff hanger .Full of dark corriders, drawn daggers and sinister plots. It is absol brilliant. It follows the fortunes of Matthew Shardlake a lawyer and his assistant who are from London .They are called to York to help with the petitions for the Kings progress. He also finds himself roped into guarding a political prisoner, ensuring that he is safe until he can be transported to the Tower for torture by the prof. As imagined, nothing is quite what it seems. This is def a book that transports you way back into the period. You will have to prise yourself away from it!

Submitted by:Gia27

Comments:This has got to be one of the best Tudor books going. I fell in love with Shardlake instantly. The author captures the Tudor world perfectly. Every chapter is ended in suspense especially when poor Shardlake finds himself arrested and taken to the Tower for questioning and a touch of torture! There are some really nail biting moments and I would tell anyone who loves 16th century fiction to read it.

Submitted by: Naphae

Comments: I also have read the book in a few days. I find it great! Like its two predecessors (Dissolution and Dark Fire), you feel empathy for the 16th century. Shardlake is not the typical hero, but he is incredibly likeable and you feel with him.
I look forward to Book No. 4...

Submitted by:


Portrait of an Unknown Woman
About the Author: Vanora Bennett
Vanora Bennett is a journalist and author of non fiction and historical fiction. "Portrait of An Unknown Woman" is her first novel, and will be released in the U.S. in paperback in May 2008. The novel is centered around Margaret Giggs, the adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More, and her relationships with the men in her life including the artist Hans Holbein. Her second novel, entitled "Figures in Silk" set after the War of the Roses, is due for release in the U.K. May 2008.
*hear an excerpt from the book and discussion with the author by clicking here*
Submitted by: Boudica

Comments: To start off with the positives: Vanora Bennett is a wonderfully talented author and I love that she chose a "behind the scenes" character to write her first historical novel. There are dozens of books about King Henry and his wives, even his mistresses (Mary Boleyn comes to mind), but few have been written on the lesser known characters. And Margaret Giggs is about as lesser known as it gets. Margaret was one of the adopted daughters of Sir Thomas More and wife of his friend and colleague John Clement (he's also appears as a character in More's "Utopia" which is discussed in the novel). Little is known about Margaret, but what gaps history leaves, Bennett uses her extensive research of the period and knowledge of the More family to give us a complete picture of what her life must have been like. Fans of "Girl with a Pearl Earring" will enjoy the art history lessons in the book as well as the presence of Hans Holbein as a secondary character who falls for Margaret. Bennett has amazing powers of description when she writes about London and Chelsea and what life of the common and upper class was like (in one dinner scene I could almost taste the mutton she was describing roasting on a spit).
As for the not so positives: Fans of Thomas More should be wary that Bennett presents a very critical, dark portrayal of More. He is shown as more of a man with self-righteous zealotry than the Saint and juxtaposes as a loving father who wouldn't beat his children with more than a peacock feather. Bennett took the rumour that More abducted Reformists and tortured them at his home and ran wild with it. Margaret witnesses these bloody occurrences and questions her father's motives, oddly most of the family members are okay with what's going on. Also there is a "DaVinci Code-esque" twist in the plot that I won't spoil by telling but it's quite surprising theory from Bennett. I thought it was completely unbelievable and added more of an element of fantasy than historical fiction but others might think otherwise.

Submitted by: LeslieMu

Comments: I enjoyed this book mostly because it was told from the viewpoint of Thomas More's adopted daughter. I liked that she was portrayed as a strong woman in her own right who possessed her own talents and purpose in life. I agree with the previous writer about the way the author really describes everyday life vividly. The secondary story about Hans Holbein was an interesting bonus. Yes, it is Da Vinci Code-esque but I personally enjoy those theories. If you are more interested in King Henry's life and court, you probably won't like this. However, if you are interested in the way other well-known and interesting people of the time may have lived, then give this book a read.

Submitted by:


About the author : Judith Merkle Riley
teaches in the Department of Government at
Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California,
and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
The adventures of a woman miniature painter caught in the dynastic intrigues of Henry VIII and his arch-rival, Francis I.
Review: " A new and enchanting Riley period masque...Spooky, riotous, headlong action, ivory-clear satires of power players, a spot of comic grue, enticing period ambiance, and prose alluringly luminous: a top-notch re-creation" Kirkus Reviews
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Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
Submitted by: Elliemental.

Comments: Hilary Mantel has truly succeeded in bringing the sixteenth century back to life in this beautifully written, and hauntingly evocative novel. It is simply sublime!

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