©1986 Margaret George; (P)1998 Books on Tape
"A remarkable achievement....Magnificently researched and admirably written." (Mary Stewart)
"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)
"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)
A fascinating study of the enigmatic Henry VIII. This historical adventure's masterful voicing by David Case was an acquired taste that required a little patience at the beginning - but paid off many times over by the end.
Much research went into the production of this and it was interesting to hear this perspective and compare it to the Wikipedia version. I also couldn't help mixing in a little of the Tudors TV series and must admit to seeing Natalie Dormer in my minds eye when the Anne Boleyn story unfolded. When the book emphasized how fat Cardinal Wolsey was, I adjusted by seeing Sam Neill with a few extra pounds.
This was a comprehensive life story coming from a unique imagined perspective of an often misunderstood historical figure. If you have enjoyed those epic fantasy books that have a medieval flavor, you will enjoy this book that is grounded on actual events.
I don't always latch on to these long productions and was a little amazed to hear the narrator intone "Chapter 127" as the story drew to a close. My attention hadn't wavered for forty one hours and my first response was to check out more of the history of this period online. That is what a great book does - gets you thinking and hungry to learn more.
Hats off to Margaret George on her brilliant writing - this is my third book of hers, and I've loved them all. One would believe she truly lived in that era. She did not leave King Henry without a sense of humor, either, and had me actually laughing out loud, even into the next day, while remembering his reaction upon seeing Anne of Cleves for the first time! No one but no one can compare to her when bringing these characters to life. She is remarkably talented, authentic, and undeniably gifted. Although the beginning may seem a little slow paced, once it gets going (meaning, once she has established the layout of the land, so to speak) it is a wonderful journey to take you back in time, and give you a first row seat into the lives of those who lived in the realm of obscene power and sickening wealth. This book is a lavish treat for all. Let's not forget the Narrator - he was awesome! Perfectly chosen for the part!
What a great book. I read this book back in the 80's and remembered I like it, but this time I loved it. David Case is a great Henry VIII. It is very long, but I was so disappointed when it was over, I wanted it to go on.
The detail in the story of the life of Henry VIII and the EXCELLENT enjoyable narration by Mr. David Case. He deserves credit for bringing the story to life.
Margaret George deserves the most credit however for writing it in the first place.
She has not left out anything as far as I can tell. I have read a few biographies of Henry VIII over the years and althought this is strictly a Novel, it has a FEEL OF REALISM I did not expect, although I confess I hope for.
I am so thrilled with it, I can not pick one over another, it is all wonderful!!!
Why Henry VIII of course.
David Case put a lot of care into reading this story, I wish all narrators showed such caring!!!
I really enjoyed listening to this. I had a long drive so plenty of time to listen to a book. The novel does a great job of giving you the historical events and inventing Henry VIII's reaction to these events. The narrarator is very good although with so many characters (who are virtually all English) the voices for many of the characters sound alike. Overall, a wonderful picture into the reign of Henry VIII.
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
Of the over 1,500 audiobooks that I've listened to in the past 7 years, this book definitely rates among the top 10 percent.
The only writer who delivers this innovative, interesting, and entertaining kind of historical fiction is Margaret George so I have to compare this another of hers in the same genre, "The Memoirs of Cleopatra". George takes hashed over subject matters and presents them in a different manner that gives the reader an entirely different perspective.
The death of King Henry's childhood friend Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Although it was a very sad time for the King, the author did a masterful job of pulling the listener in to the shattering loss that Henry felt.
There is no other name that fits. How often do writers think to present a story written, filmed, and enacted a kazillion times by switching up the perspective into a first-person autobiography? And, on top of that, the sidebar comments by Henry's fool, Will Somers, (and closet confidant) adds another layer to the life of the King. The cool thing about Will's commentary is that he puts Henry often egotistical musings in the proper perspective - like the "audience" robots Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy on the cult television show "Mystery Science Theater 3000".
I wish Margaret George had provided more "notes" from Will Somers. His comments are amusing, wry, and insightful. The book starts out with Will giving a pretty steady commentary but by Parts 5 and 6, he starts to fall off, leaving the listener with page after page of Henry's senile rambling and hallucinations (the reader is given no medical or psychological explanation as to why Henry suddenly becomes haunted, paranoid and sees visions). One would think that the still mentally competent Will would have continued to provide much needed insight about Henry's last days to Catherine Carey Knollys (Henry's illegitimate daughter by Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary) to whom Will sent Henry's annotated autobiography. However, we hear less and less from him as Henry gets older. Other than that small issue, this is a well-written and well researched account of Henry VIII.
RPG, history and movie fan
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend, with the caveat that the reader's voice comes across as thin, high and not the way I felt Henry VIII would/should sound. His high-pitched whine, which he uses to voice the women and many servants, is a tad off-putting.
Despite that, I would still recommend it, as the story is so well done.
My disappointment with the reedy sound of the reader.
Will, as he was able to give the third person viewpoint to Henry's actions.
I wish this could be recorded with another reader with a deeper voice. Or with a male reader and a female reader; each to portray all characters of each gender.
I have mixed feelings about this book. While the storytelling is good, the prose goes on and on and on. I am not a historian but I questioned the validity of many of the statements in the book. That may be because the other books I have read have been from the wives' point of view.
It was not riveting, but I was unable to just not read it. It took me three months. An audiobook usually takes me 2 to 3 weeks. This audiobook, however, was the longest by far.
It appears to be well researched but I just can't tell. I would not recommend this to anyone who is not a serious inquirer regarding Tudor England but I feel it was an interesting, different point of view relevant to the serious fan of the time.
I loved the book. I have the paperback version and really loved it. The person reading this audio version killed the entire story for me. The accent was terrible and the way he read it kept making me get lost. It was really really bad. Get the paper book.
Choose a different reader.
The narrator perfectly captures the tone of Both Henry & Will. And the story is one we know well. But the entirely different perspective makes it all new again!
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