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Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England | [Thomas Penn]

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.
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Publisher's Summary

A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII.

Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years. Although he built palaces, hosted magnificent jousts, and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many Henry VII remained a false king. But he had a crucial asset: his family - the queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Now, in what would be the crowning glory of his reign, his elder son would marry a great Spanish princess.

Thomas Penn re-creates an England that is both familiar and very strange - a country medieval yet modern, in which honor and chivalry mingle with espionage, realpolitik, high finance, and corruption. It is the story of the transformation of a young, vulnerable boy, Prince Henry, into the aggressive teenager who would become Henry VIII, and of Catherine of Aragon, his future queen, as well as of Henry VII - controlling, avaricious, paranoid, with Machiavellian charm and will to power.

Rich with incident and drama, filled with wonderfully drawn characters, Winter King is an unforgettable account of pageantry, intrigue, the thirst for glory, and the fraught, unstable birth of Tudor England.

Thomas Penn has a PhD in early Tudor history from Clare College, Cambridge. Winter King is his first book.

©2011 Thomas Penn (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“I feel I’ve been waiting to read this book a long time. It’s a fluent and compelling account of the cost of founding the Tudor dynasty.” (Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize–winning author of Wolf Hall)

“An exceptionally stylish literary debut…[Penn’s] book should be the first port of call for anyone trying to understand England’s most flagrant usurper since William the Conqueror.” (Diarmaid MacCulloch, New York Times best-selling author)

“A definitive and accessible account of the reign of Henry VII.” (Guardian (UK))

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (239 )
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4.2 (211 )
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Performance
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  •  
    nursebettyknitting Boise, ID USA 05-29-13
    nursebettyknitting Boise, ID USA 05-29-13 Member Since 2012

    knitting fiend

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    "Informative but depressing..."
    Any additional comments?

    I bought this book without realizing this was an "actual" history book and not a historical fiction novel. I listened; I feel like I know so much more now about Henry the VII and his time. It does not make for pleasant pastime: I was shocked by his "regime"'s brutality, deceit, systematic destruction of his subjects' lives and highway robbery of their assets. I can see why "monarchy" and "tyranny"are so close - practically synonyms. I did get quite depressed listening to it, but I would listen to more of Penn's writings if it becomes available on audio.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. halliwell 07-14-15

    I love books in any form. I find audio books to be very relaxing.

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    "Excellent narration"

    Simon Vance does an excellent job narrating Winter King. Note to big authors: hire him for all your audio books! The only reason this book does not get 5 stars on the story is because it is very in depth about what Henry VII did to keep the nobles in check, the financial blackmail, the use of obscure laws and crippling fines. For someone who is a casual history buff, it will probably be too much. For someone who is interested in the Tudors and especially how a man with very little claim to the throne gets it and manages to keep it, it is a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Hillary São Paulo, Brasil 05-11-15
    Mark Hillary São Paulo, Brasil 05-11-15 Member Since 2014

    Mark Hillary

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    "Fantastic overview of Henry VII"

    Great narration and the story moves fast. Henry VIII gets most of the attention in popular history do this is an excellent primer on how his father created the monarchy Henry VIII would inherit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    VirginiaMom Virginia 04-25-15
    VirginiaMom Virginia 04-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating."

    Enjoyed it thoroughly. Henry VII is the prince Machiavelli could have been thinking about as he wrote The Prince. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hallie California 04-25-15
    Hallie California 04-25-15
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    "Nice enough story.."

    But I got lost many times with so many names thrown out and I felt sometimes the narration diverted to stories of other people when it should be more on the reign of the King. Most of the details were like.. Junk. But overall one would learn a thing or two listening to this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Battery Point, Australia 03-29-15
    john Battery Point, Australia 03-29-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Brilliant"

    Highly recommended.

    Get it if you have any interest in the period. Nothing startling and new but delivered in a clear way that others could do well to emulate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Dallas, TX, United States 02-12-13
    Christopher Dallas, TX, United States 02-12-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Can be tedious, but generally interesting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Winter King to be better than the print version?

    I dont know. I didnt read the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter King?

    Learning about the domestic and foreign policies of Henry VII and how he ran his kingdom in comparison to his more famous son


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Im not sure. He was good. But Im not sure he was transcendent or anything..


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    A good historical book. The topics back then are all the same.. intrigue, secret plots, marriage alliances, doing odd things in the name or religion... if youre interested in the history and can get through the first part. its a good listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly phoenix az 11-25-12
    Molly phoenix az 11-25-12 Member Since 2015

    luckymolly

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    ""Glorious summer" made winter once again..."
    Would you listen to Winter King again? Why?

    Definitely would listen to this one again. Nonfiction can be dry but this was well-written and well read. There was a lot of information presented that I'd come across before but it was woven into a pretty smooth narrative. The author does have a couple of phrases, expressions, words, that are noticeably repeated, but I didn't find this to be an annoyance, just something I noticed.


    What other book might you compare Winter King to and why?

    The subject matter here makes it difficult to compare to another book. SB Chrimes wrote the Yale English Monarchs series entry on Henry VII and that suffers a bit from being that type of dry academic work that is so difficult to stick with to the last page. If you like David Starkey's biographies, this is probably up your alley.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    His voice was even and steady but not at all monotonous.


    Any additional comments?

    Given that Henry VII was a cipher in life and has remained so or become more of one in death, it isn't surprising that this book comes across as a portrait of a man painted by filling in the space around him. It is nearly impossible to know much of Henry that isn't a reflection off of someone or something else. This is more apparent in the 2nd half of the book, as first Prince Arthur's and then Queen Elizabeth's death marks the point at which Henry, always secretive, always guarded, retreats and even the glimpses of a happy behind-the-scenes family life fall away and all we are left with are records of a reign descending into a feudal police state. The book ends with the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII and based on what he's done in Winter King, I'm hoping that Mann will continue into that reign with his work.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 10-21-12
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 10-21-12 Member Since 2008

    I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.

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    "Interesting and Tight"

    I've been working my way backward and forward through British royalty, starting with Elizabeth 1. This is a nicely done history that is juicy enough to keep you going. More than anything, it reminded me how very unpleasant it has to be to be so public that all your quirks and warts are there for all to see.
    All in all, a good read.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    El Costa Rica 10-05-12
    El Costa Rica 10-05-12 Member Since 2010

    gallo

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    "Exceptional"

    Winter King ranks among the best books I have listened to this year. Simon Vance is a terrific narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Clementi
    7/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Dreadful Narration ruins this title"
    What made the experience of listening to Winter King the most enjoyable?

    It was just dreadful! I somehow didn't notice that Simon Vance had narrated this and bought it only to discover it was he! Seriously, ham acting doesn't begin to describe this.
    He narrates so many books that I can only conclude that he reads aloud without actually bothering to look at the words he's saying, rendering it pointless really.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Thomas Penn? Why or why not?

    It may be a fantastic book, in fact I suspect it is as it's a great subjecct and Penn is usually very thorough. Such a shame about the narration which meant that I listened to about a fifth of the book and gave up.


    What didn’t you like about Simon Vance’s performance?

    Dreadful. Renders the book unintelligible as he puts no intelligence into his narration. One may as well have an automaton reading. Truly the worst performance on audible so far.


    Any additional comments?

    Hopefully someone else will narrate this at some point as I would truly love to hear it, but preferably by a narrator who has the ability to READ and understand what he is voicing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sean Inglis
    Matlock,UK
    12/24/13
    Overall
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    "Complex and rewarding"

    Not light listening; I'd guess I've listened to some sections of this 4 or 5 times - usually on chapters where I've trotted off to bed and I'm falling asleep.

    Dense with facts, names, dates and motivation, it's also a work where you miss a dramatis personae, family tree, timeline or a really good index / cross reference. In a physical book, I'd have been flipping backwards and forwards checking I had the timeline or character right.

    Still hugely enjoyable, but does demand concentration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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