©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.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from 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.
I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!
Yes, if they like audible books and are prepared to a LONG listen (41 hrs and 20 mins). And they love history and want a view into the huge cast of characters from that era. Many books/movies have been done about them but some with less vividness. Some bits of history that have been skipped over or briefly mentioned are fleshed out here (thus the reason for the length of the novel!).
That's a hard question to answer. Henry VIII is so very complex. I got the book because I wanted to learn more about him. Henry was a very complex man; sometimes very wise and talented, sometimes very ruthless and selfish. He was THE KING! He was THE POWER! He was a man of his time and the view of the time was very interesting.
It's worth the time as David Case (narrator) does such a good job! And it is one of the better historical novels I've read or listened to...there is a lot good historical data here that only an excellent narrator can keep listener invested in listening to the end. He did that for me!
Henry VIII!! Who else has had so much written about him, even when he was not the main character. How could any media production be done of his time without alluding to him in one way or another?
I've read Ms. George's tombs about Elizabeth I and Cleopatra. They too are very lengthy. I prefer the audio version as holding the paperback gets difficult when reading in bed! Probably, Ms. George could have cut some of the rhetoric in all 3 books and still had good novels but I did not skip over any part of any of the novels (audible or written). There are no abridged versions of any of her audible books. I assume it is because cutting them would just be such a Herculean task.
12 n \\\\ Born and grew up in Scotland. No species of book I do not love. Favorite genre History, thrillers, biography, memoirs etc
This book captires you in every way. I have relistened several times.
Henry of course! I KNOW what he was really like, truly evil a really bad human being. BUT this book has a way of hooking your interest and keeping it. Very well researched. For me a book has to be well researched and this one is.
I loved the narration, beautifully done.
A GREAT listen
The book was well written and well researched. Margaret George did a great job taking into account the time and setting of the book, letting the listener/reader know exactly where they were and what could be expected to be encountered.
No. When I first began the book, I could hardly understand the accent he was putting on for King Henry. After I got used to it, I found that he did male characters very well, but all his female characters sounded exactly the same, even though many times they were from different countries or regions. They had a bit of a lilt and rolled their R's. It was kind of frustrating that I couldn't tell one woman from the next.
I probably wouldn't listen to it again or recommend it to anyone else. Just read the book instead of listening to it.
Some parts were a bit dry. Towards the ending, I didn't really like the character of King Henry, who became a mean, old arrogant, selfish coot. I don't suppose that is the fault of Margaret George however, she was just reporting the story through the research she found.
I've read many books on King Henry VIII, but the concept of an autobiography was intriguing and not disappointing. The narrator's tone and inflection added greatly to the story by matching historical descriptions of the King's demeanor. Although it is a fictional book based upon historical facts, it quickly became easy to forget that and believe that King Henry VIII had actually left the manuscript for us to find after his death.
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