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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in decades, here, in a single volume, is a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty, comprising some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer reveals the flesh-and-bone reality in all its wild excess.

In 1485, young Henry Tudor, whose claim to the throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, crossed the English Channel from France at the head of a ragtag little army and took the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four hundred years. Half a century later his son, Henry VIII, desperate to rid himself of his first wife in order to marry a second, launched a reign of terror aimed at taking powers no previous monarch had even dreamed of possessing. In the process he plunged his kingdom into generations of division and disorder, creating a legacy of blood and betrayal that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country.

The boy king Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before bringing to fruition his dream of a second English Reformation. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir. And finally came Elizabeth I, who devoted her life to creating an image of herself as Gloriana the Virgin Queen but, behind that mask, sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive.

©2010 G.J. Meyer (P)2010 Random House

What members say

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  • Donna
  • LaPorte, IN, United States
  • 05-17-12

Easy to follow the trail

What about Robin Sachs’s performance did you like?

Very good narration.

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

Yes, but impossible to do unless you're an insomniac.

Any additional comments?

If they had taught history in this way in school, I would have been an A student.

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  • Megan
  • RALEIGH, NC, United States
  • 04-09-12

Fabulous Audiobook

Would you consider the audio edition of The Tudors to be better than the print version?

I would! I listen mostly on my commute to work, reading on the bus sometimes makes me sick. Having the opportunity to listen to the book I was dying to read was an awesome choice!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Anne Boleyn, although she doesn't get as much story time (for obvious reasons).

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

His awesome voice :)

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

If that were possible, yes! However it's over 24 hours long, so thats not really an option :)

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The bar has just risen

This is such a well produced and superbly narrated audio book I think it has raised the bar in my mind of how good audio books can be.
The content was truly fascinating and presented very well for non-history experts. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a bit more history than you are getting on "The Tudors" tv series. Robin Sachs has a wonderful voice and diction we can only dream of. I will forever be attempting to reproduce his exacting but not overwrought pronounciation of parliament, among many others.
I'm now hooked on history and working my way through other similar titles in ajoining historical periods.
Loved it!

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  • Anne
  • Montgomery Village, MD, United States
  • 05-21-11

Reluctant 2-star

Previous reviewers understated the degree of bias by the author; I quit listening relatively early due to it. In his introduction, the author states that new views of the Tudors refute the classic view of them as strong, capable rulers concerned with the welfare of their kingdom as a whole. I've read quite a bit about the Tudors, and I don't think any serious authors painted any Tudor as a benevelent monarch. Henry VIII was undeniably the worst, while Mary was not as bad as tradition paints her (in my opinion). Elizabeth was certainly her father's daughter, but never reached his extremes self-centered willfulness and viciousness. Then the author says he wants to present the lesser Tutors, such as Edward and Lady Jane Grey as well as Henry, Mary, and Elizabeth. Edward never ruled independently; his reign reflects Bolyns more than Tudors. Lady Jane's brief ascendany was completely under the control of others, and so brief, that she hardly counts as a monarch. Nor was she a Tudor. That much said, the author attempts no comparison of the Tudors to other contemporary rulers. Kings ruled by Divine Right; monarchs considered themselves divinely appointed and opposition tended to be seen as treason, which merited vicious punishment. Religious tolerance in the period was virtually nonexistant. Those who were not "us" (whoever that was among the many Protestant sects as well as Protestants vs Roman Catholics) were heretics and whichever side had the power to do so meted out "justice" - generally a cruel death. As for the background chapters, you will find much that is old, little new. On the plus side, the book is reasonable well written if you can overlook the content, and the reading isn't bad. I have read and listened to worse, but even good reading and writing can't overcome the content flaws. Don't waste your credits or your money.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah
  • Bedford, IN, United States
  • 06-01-10

Hates Elizabeth

Please be forewarned that the author does not like Elizabeth I. This perceived bias hampered my enjoyment of the book.

11 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Interesting 'Yes', Essential 'No'

Myer in the preface clearly writes, The Tudors is not a book of Scholarship. If it does anything, it does inform some readers that movies and TV drama are artistic devices that do not portray known history.

As I followed the audio, I did ask myself why the Tudors do appeal to a lot of people, even 500 years after their strutting and fretting across the European stage.

There was a lot going on at the time and as many of us are not multilingual we tend to follow what was written in English.

These are the days still of men in armour on horseback, jousting and lots of bludgeoning and sword thrusts. There are castles and dungeons, treachery and greed. Later there are pirates on the high seas and gold and more gold coming from Central and South America.
The Reformation is just kicking off and the Saint Bartholmew's Day massacre waiting to happen. The Turks are looking and moving into west.

While Elizabeth 1 may have had very bad breath and had killed faithful friend and enemy alike she did survive for a long time through this turmoil. And well, Henry was a king and wanted a son. I suppose his desires were transparent. Other monarch's in other countries used poisin and 'chance accidents'. The Tudors did ruin and kill a lot of people. As Rulers I wonder how much has really changed to this day. Cynical?

Thomas Moore has the last word before he is executed. A warning to us all.

The story jumps around a bit, and there seems to be little point writing in that way. At times there are interesting digressions. Robyn Sachs read well

If you are really interested, Penn's "Winter King" is also on Audible and about Henry's dad.
And he really was a nasty piece of work.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 05-05-11

Richly detailed history

There have been enough books, movies and TV series about the Tudors and the rise of Protestantism to fill a large warehouse. But this book earns a place on anyone's reading list with an essential telling of the six Tudor monarchs from Henry VII to Elizabeth I. This is a richly detailed history with enough sweep and detail to satisfy the general reader and the specialist. I was surprised to feel some empathy for Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), a smart, strong woman who is usually ignored by most historians. She allowed her deep-seated religious prejudice against Protestants to overwhelm her many forward-thinking programs. Another surprise was the portrait of Elizabeth I, who is usually depicted as a dynamic leader. Here she merely hopes to survive a tumultuous era without losing her head or her crown. Henry VIII is, correctly, portrayed as a bully, a self-willed monster and a wholesale murderer who killed thousands out of childish irritation. Henry let few scruples stand in the way of his egocentric needs, a Renaissance dictator worthy of Saddam's terror. The narration is first-rate. Highly recommended.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 11-23-12

Biased and skewed. Like a propaganda piece!

What a bitter disappointment! I know this material. This is the very last Tudor book in Audible, as I've listened o every other book. Nonfiction and historical fiction.

This is a biased piece of work better categorized as an opinion essay.

The author sets out to tell us about the Tudors on the continuum, yet doesn't come close to achieving that viewpoint. Instead his writing is scathing. He misrepresents and draws conclusions that are pure opinion.

I hate to think anyone would read this and believe that this is the comprehensive biography of the time and the people!!!

Don't waste your money! I'm applying for a refund!

6 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • eugenia
  • mount jackson, VA, United States
  • 03-07-13

A must have for Tudor characters history buffs.

Where does The Tudors rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best history listens so far.

What three words best describe Robin Sachs’s performance?

crisp,concise and captivating.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

very pleased

Any additional comments?

A wonderful book that clears up a lot of confusion about the characters in Tudor history and the roles they played.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too confusing

This book jumps all over the 110 year rein I could not keep up with who is who or even what year it was

0 of 2 people found this review helpful