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.
“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))
this book was well written and too often forgotten story that needs to be told. It may not be best for audio format as the names get very tiresome and a bit confusing. if you do listen, keep a note book of names.
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.
I really loved this one. You must pay attention as not to loose track of the family tree and players, but if you can keep all that straight, it is very great to listen too.
It is of coarse about Henry VII most of all. Learned a lot about the man and although he is not a beloved character, he was sure a king that a person would be interested in.
I found Simon Vance a good listen. Very good.
No, I think the book is long and needs digesting in steps, but I sure did not want to be away from it more then a day or two.
Enjoyable Tudor History. Helps in my understanding of English Government much controled by the King
A thorough telling of the reign of Henry VII as dry as s pile of fallen leaves in January. All of the intrigue, machinations, scheming personages, beheadings, royal moves and countermoves are detailed but with no juice or passion. What's needed is a Philippa Gregory to stir the pot and make me care.
"Henry VIII Prequel"
I treated this experience as a prequel to reading I'm heading into following this book--more (always more!) on Henry VIII. My interest has been reignited by the books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies--both amazing.
I am blown away by the political and marketing savvy of Henry VII and his mother, Catherine Beaufort(?). They created the legend of the Tudors pretty much out of whole cloth. I was not aware of this degree of "sophistication" in that period.
Simon's narration is impeccable. He reads the book, for sure, but it sounds like he's telling the story from his mind and heart.
No--I was engaged enough to do so, but it's very long and covers a long period. "Digestion" between "meals" was vital!
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.
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.
"Dreadful Narration ruins this title"
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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