Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

Thomas Penn

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and counter-coups. Henry VII had clambered to the top of the heap - a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England's crown who through luck, guile and ruthlessness had managed to win the throne and stay on it for sixteen years. Although he built palaces, hosted jousts, gave out lavish presents and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many he remained a usurper, a false king. But Henry had a crucial asset: his 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. On a cold November day this girl, the sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, arrived in London for a wedding upon which the fate of England would hinge... 4.4 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, History
Format Hardback
Pages 480
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication September 2011
ISBN 978-1846142024
Publisher Allen Lane
 

It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and counter-coups. Henry VII had clambered to the top of the heap - a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England's crown who through luck, guile and ruthlessness had managed to win the throne and stay on it for sixteen years. Although he built palaces, hosted jousts, gave out lavish presents and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many he remained a usurper, a false king. But Henry had a crucial asset: his 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. On a cold November day this girl, the sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, arrived in London for a wedding upon which the fate of England would hinge...

Reviews

The Observer

Philippa Gregory

Definitive and accessible ... Scholarly readers of this book will enjoy the dates, places and names of men who supported this unlikely contender to the throne but then turned against him, and their secret alliances. For the general reader, the story of the victor, who became a prisoner of his own fears — creating private rooms inside private rooms, recruiting layer upon layer of guards — is a moral tale as well as a history.

16/10/2011

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The Spectator

Leanda de Lisle

[A] brilliant mash-up of gothic horror and political biography ... Penn’s description of this Tudor tyranny is a tour de force: both scholarly and a pleasure to read, covering the breadth of the European political scene, while providing the details that allow us to feel intimately the terror at home.

01/10/2011

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The Sunday Telegraph

Helen Castor

Stunning … Penn has pulled off a rare feat: a brilliant and haunting evocation of the Tudor world, with irresistible echoes of the age of fear in which we now live.

22/09/2011

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The Financial Times

John Guy

Some will be overwhelmed by the intricate machinations of quite so many spies, informers, agents, double agents and agents provocateur. And yet Penn brilliantly recreates the sterile atmosphere suffocating Henry’s England ... Winter King offers us the fullest, deepest, most compelling insight into the warped psychology of the Tudor dynasty’s founder to have appeared since Bacon wrote.

30/09/2011

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The Sunday Times

Tracy Borman

For Penn to cut his literary teeth on such a subject is a brave undertaking, but one that succeeds brilliantly … If there is a downside to Penn’s book, it is the chronological slips that occur regularly throughout … But this should not detract from an otherwise impressive account

25/09/2011

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The Literary Review

Peter Marshall

It is pushing things a bit to suggest, as Penn does in his introduction, that this story has hitherto been ‘largely untold’; his own endnotes and acknowledgements reveal a heavy debt to recent academic scholarship. Nor does the account here contain many startling new revelations or original insights into the character of the reign. Penn does, however, succeed in investing the material with urgency and eloquence, and imposes on it a convincing, and in places compelling, narrative shape.

01/10/2011

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The Economist

The Economist

Thomas Penn covers the first 16 years of Henry’s rule at a swift, perfunctory clip … This imbalance is a shame. It consigns Henry VII to the Scroogeish, lonely twilight of his last years; but if anyone could have brought him out of the shadows, Mr Penn could. He is a superb teller of a tale ... Mr Penn is much better at narrative than analysis.

24/09/2011

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