The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers

( 122 )

Overview

Much has been written about the mighty, egotistical Henry VIII: the man who dismantled the Church because it would not grant him the divorce he wanted; who married six women and beheaded two of them; who executed his friend Thomas More; who sacked the monasteries; who longed for a son and neglected his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; who finally grew fat, disease-ridden, dissolute. Now, in her magnificent work of storytelling and imagination Margaret George bring us Henry VIII's story as he himself might have told...

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The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers

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Overview

Much has been written about the mighty, egotistical Henry VIII: the man who dismantled the Church because it would not grant him the divorce he wanted; who married six women and beheaded two of them; who executed his friend Thomas More; who sacked the monasteries; who longed for a son and neglected his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; who finally grew fat, disease-ridden, dissolute. Now, in her magnificent work of storytelling and imagination Margaret George bring us Henry VIII's story as he himself might have told it, in memoirs interspersed with irreverent comments from his jester and confident, Will Somers. Brilliantly combining history, wit, dramatic narrative, and an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of power, this monumental novel shows us Henry the man more vividly than he has ever been seen before.

"At bottom, we are moved only by two things: love and greed." These are the thoughts of Henry VIII, King, husband, lover, innovator--and autobiographer. In his own often outrageous words, he now tells his own tale in this unique novel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A remarkable achievement...Magnificently researched and admirably written." —Mary Stewart

"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

"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

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
George presents a romanticized Henry VIII and fails to capture the ``brilliance, the cunning or the ruthlessness of the grim monarch who tore down monasteries to fill his coffers, executed two of his six wives and sacrificed friend and enemy alike for political expediency,'' PW commented. (September)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312194390
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/1998
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 960
  • Sales rank: 203,308
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 1.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret George

Margaret George is the author of Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Elizabeth I: A Novel, among others. George first got the idea to write historical fiction when, after reading numerous novels that viewed Henry VIII through the eyes of his enemies and victims, she started to wonder if there might be another story. She became determined to let Henry speak for himself, and it took fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England to see every extant building associated with Henry, and five handwritten drafts for her to answer the question: What was Henry really like? Margaret George was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has traveled extensively. She and her husband live in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Reading Group Guide

Much has been written about the mighty, egotistical Henry VIII: the man who dismantled the Church because it would not grant him the divorce he wanted; who married six women and beheaded two of them; who executed his friend Thomas ore; who sacked the monasteries; who longed for a son and neglected his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth; who finally grew fat, disease-ridden, dissolute. Now, in her magnificent work of storytelling and imagination Margaret George bring us Henry VIII's story as he himself might have told it, in memoirs interspersed with irreverent comments from his jester and confident, Will Somers. Brilliantly combining history, wit, dramatic narrative, and an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of power, this monumental novel shows us Henry the man more vividly than he has ever been seen before.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 122 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(77)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 122 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2008

    Bravo!

    One word...AMAZING. I must say that this book of 932 pages was just I cant say it enough....amazing. No matter where I was or who I was with, I had it with me. It was always in my handbag....Henry VIII just tagging along with me. I honestly have to say that through out the whole book I felt I was there. I felt as if I were invisable standing next to Henry and tagging along with him and his ups and downs and literally everything. You feel as if you are there at court in England with the rest of them. And I just love that era and kind of got to actually experience the life at court. Well, in that time I should say. I honestly would give it 10 stars if I had to. I promise you that yes it is a fairly long book....but you will love it. I can promise you. You will have no regrets and you will love it so much that you will be buying copies for your friends and family. It is my all time favorite book. And now that Im done with it....I feel like reading it all over again. I think that once you are in love with a book, there will be no other to take its place. Margaret George....Bravo. Standing ovation. Now go on my readers and buy yourself a copy. Take care darlings.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read and overview of this historical period

    My wife, who is obsessed with this time period, read the book. She says: The book had great character development and is very insightful about this time in English history. It was written with a richness in detail and with an enlightening perspective. She's read two other biographies by this author and appreciates her writing style.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2004

    Absorbing and difficult to put down

    Anyone who thinks history is boring has never heard of the Tudor saga! If you are interested in Henry VIII but wary of non-fiction, then this is the book for you. Margaret George is a master-story teller, but she doesn't lose sight of the actual history. You may just find yourself hungry for more information on this fascinating man.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 3, 2011

    Amazing!

    This is one of the best books I have read about King Henry and his life. The author brings him to life in a way that you feel as if you are there with him to share every happy, frusterating, and tantalizing event in his life. Bravo to the author! This book is a must read! My new all time fav!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Yes Yes and Yes! You have to READ THIS BOOK!

    I love Historical Fiction and I love the Tudors. To this day this book is still my all time favorite. I could not put it down and I took it with me every where I went. You have to read this book!!! I have read so many books on the Tudors and this one is at the top of my list #1. My Mom is not a reader at all and she has no interest in the Tudors or History and even she could not put it down. She loved it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Entertaining Tutor Saga

    I love the Tutor history and have read several works regarding the life of King Henry. In this book, the life of King Henry the VIII is discussed from the view points of King Henry himself and his court jester, Will. This story is historically grounded with many factual basis, in her typical form George find a way to weave in compelling stories of love, lust and life with historical founding for entertainment. This book is a long novel, approximately a thousand pages like many of George's works. Personally, this was my least favorite of George's books I have read so far, the story seems verbose and to drag in places. I was disappointed somewhat, however, my love for the Tutor story got me through the dry places. I felt somewhat more educated on the Tutor turmoil after the read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Extemely Unique

    I've only ever read books about Henry VIII through the point of view of his wives, so I loved reading the story from his point of view. It's very original and offered a much different perspective of his reasonings. A perfect read for anyone who loves this time period.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    King Hal another way.

    Ms George has presented us with a lively view of the life and times of Henry VIII. In this retelling of the story of the king that would be head of the Church in England, George gives us a very human picture of the king and those around him. The device of having Will Smith comment on the King's narrative is both informaional and entertaining. A very good read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    WOW

    I thought this book was excellent. Well detailed and the pages just breezed by. One of the best books I have read so far!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    WONDERFUL - HATED IT TO END

    This is probably one of the heaviest book to hold but the reading is delightful. It was easy to know who was who throughout and being a before bed reader, it kept me up past my regular lights out many nights. I have passed it to my husband, who never reads anything but factual history and he is enjoying it as much as I. This has got to be one of the best and most entertaining books I have every read and I can't wait to get the Cleopatra book I have ordered. Thank you.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    Didn't want it to end!

    This book is not only very well-researched and accurately detailed, but a captivating read for anyone, not just Tudor-philes. The author did an excellent job trying to re-create the psyche/thought-patterns behind Henry's behavior -- not only how he saw himself (and justified his actions), but also how he perceived he was being seen by others surrounding him. She also gave a lot of insight as to how he actually was perceived by those closest to him (through notes of his Fool, Will Somers). My biggest disappointment in the book came at the end -- very sadly lacking in the detail of his marriage to his last wife, Kate Parr (who, as historical research has implied was possibly destined for the block as well, given her Protestant leanings - and was spared only by Henry's death). Having read Ms. George's other book on Mary of Scots - this book (Henry VIII) is FAR superior!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2000

    Simply Wonderful!

    My favourite novel-bar none! Margaret has delivered yet another outstanding novel. A hard book to put down. I hope she continues to write and have been looking forward to her next book for far too long!! Where are you, Marg

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2000

    The Most Readable Historical Novel I've Read

    As an author of historical novels set in England, I have read hundreds of fiction and nonfiction books set in this era. Margaret George's AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII has put me in that setting like no book ever has. Her details, to the minutest, show the many years she has put into research. No book (or MOVIE, for that matter!) has ever transported me back to Henry VIIIs court like this one. Telling it in first person, from Henry's POV, was a masterful tour de force. I got into Henry's head as well as his heart. I was able to understand the reasons for many of his actions, and I was able to sympathize with him, which is not easy, considering the way he is generally portrayed. I have read this book four times already, and it never ceases to captivate me. I bought the hardcover, to display, and the paperback, which I marked up with notes for research on my own historical novel set in this time. As well as being a highly entertaining novel, it was indispensible for my research, and I returned to it many times during my writing, along with other reference books. Margaret, you are a master historian, and a gifted researcher and writer. Five stars aren't adequate.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Margaret George = Genius

    Another absolutely brilliant "fake" autobiography from Margaret George....This woman is very talented in her field, that's for sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    This is one of my absolute favorite books. I have always been f

    This is one of my absolute favorite books. I have always been fascinated by the Tudor dynasty of England. The research Mrs. George weaves into this novel is amazing. It is also one of the only accounts of Henry's reign by him instead one of his six wives. Do not be discouraged by its size! The book moves too quickly as it is!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

    Engrossing

    I have read this book about 3 times and each time I find something I didn't remember from the time before. Enjoy learning aobut the history in a fun way, not just dry facts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2011

    Top Rate!

    Good read....lots of history.....page turner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    AWESOME!

    Not quite through the whole book yet but what I have read I absolutely love love love! I love this time frame, im currently a History major and cant get enough of Henry VIII and his dynasty.If you like this time frame you HAVE HAVE HAVE to read this book. Excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Loved tis book

    Read it on my vacation so i didnt have to put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    King Henry The Eight

    Excellent biography. Don't read any other book - this is the most factul book I've read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 122 Customer Reviews

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