Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England's Most Notorious Royal Family

Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England's Most Notorious Royal Family

4.6 3
by Leanda de Lisle
     
 

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In an epic narrative sweeping from 1437 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tudor: the Family Story traces the rise and rule of the Tudor dynasty. Brutal political instability dominated England during this infamous time, and Leanda de Lisle reveals the personalities, passions, and obsessions of the men and women at its epicenter toSee more details below

Overview


In an epic narrative sweeping from 1437 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tudor: the Family Story traces the rise and rule of the Tudor dynasty. Brutal political instability dominated England during this infamous time, and Leanda de Lisle reveals the personalities, passions, and obsessions of the men and women at its epicenter to rediscover the true significances of previously overlooked figures: from the remarkable women, so wholly devoted to securing the line of succession, to the Princes in the Tower, whose disappearances have remained a mystery for centuries.

This groundbreaking story opens at the unlikely beginning of the Tudor dynasty—with Owen Tudor, a handsome Welsh commoner who, with a pirouette and a trip, landed squarely in the lap of the English Monarchy. The struggle of Owen’s grandson Henry VII and his heirs to secure the line of succession—and the hopes, loves, and losses of the claimants—are the focus of this book. The universal appeal of the Tudors also lies in the family stories: of a mother’s love for her son, of the husband who kills his wives, of siblings who betray one another, of reckless love affairs, of rival cousins, of an old spinster whose heirs hope to hurry her to her end.

Thrilling to read and bristling with religious and political intrigue, Tudor: The Family Story tells the true story behind the myths, throwing a fresh, new light on this perennially fascinating era.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This fresh take on the Tudor dynasty is history at its best. Covering everything from the Tudors’ obscure beginnings, when a Welsh squire named Owen Tudor literally fell into the lap of Henry V’s widow, Catherine of Valois, and later married her, to the death of the couple’s great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth I, British historian de Lisle (The Sisters Who Would Be Queen) has written an engaging and well-sourced account, sprinkled with provocative anecdotes that will appeal to both scholars and general readers interested in exploring how the constantly shifting Tudor family dynamics played out in the political, religious, and historical realms. De Lisle emphasizes the impact of the mysterious 1483 disappearance of two young princes in the Tower of London and the Tudors’ subsequent obsession with securing the line of royal succession; she also notes the key roles played by often-overlooked female members of the extended family in the events that culminated in the accession of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, in 1485. This compelling tale is driven by three-dimensional people and relationships, and de Lisle does a fantastic job of making them feel lived and dramatic. Map, family trees, and illus. Agent: Georgina Capel, Capel & Land (U.K.). (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-18
The most dysfunctional family in English history gets its due. After two books focusing on major chapters from the history of the Tudors (The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Tragedy, 2009, etc.), de Lisle aims to tell the story from the beginning in this comprehensive but often complicated volume. Beginning with the 1437 marriage of Henry V's widow, Catherine, to a lowly chamber servant named Owen Tudor, it becomes the story of a family dominated by both the lust for power and a battle for the soul of England. The players range from the manipulative Margaret Beaufort to her cruel (and guilt-wracked) son Henry VII to his ruthless (and guilt-free) son Henry VIII, whose yearning for a male successor involved six wives and sparked an endless rift between Catholics and Protestants. It's a fascinating, violent, morally complex story not only about the way power corrupts, but how it makes rulers both vulnerable and paranoid. It's also an extremely eventful slice of history, and de Lisle occasionally gets winded trying to wrestle the narrative, and its ever-expanding cast of characters, into a manageable shape. Major characters arrive and suddenly die with barely a send-off as we rush to the next battle or coronation; facts pile up without always getting properly processed. De Lisle doesn't stint on the drama, however, whether it's Mary, Queen of Scots getting hacked to pieces or Elizabeth I eloquently bracing her troops for war with Spain. She also capably separates fact from myth, pursues still-unsolved royal mysteries, and provides perspective about the kind of pre-Enlightenment mindset in which you could be boiled, burned, beheaded or hanged for believing in transubstantiation. Hard to follow at times but also a reliable and amply researched guide for Tudor enthusiasts.
From the Publisher
“Leanda de Lisle reveals such hidden depths in the vivid history of England’s most famous dynasty”—The American Conservative
“Deeply researched but vibrantly accessible.” Wall Street Journal

“Leanda de Lisle has the gift of reminding us that history is the story of real people; real men, real women, full of rage and ambition and lust and hope and love. The Tudors are already our most vivid dynasty, by quite a long chalk, but these pages render them more vivid still. This was an age when the game was worth the candle, when a chance remark could result in a crown or the axe. Wonderful, passionate, dangerous, fascinating stuff. I couldn’t put it down.”—Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey

“This fresh take on the Tudor dynasty is history at its best… an engaging and well-sourced account, sprinkled with provocative anecdotes that will appeal to both scholars and general readers… This compelling tale is driven by three-dimensional people and relationships, and de Lisle does a fantastic job of making them feel lived and dramatic. ” Publishers Weekly, starred

“A reliable and amply researched guide.” Kirkus Reviews

“Enjoyable, well-written… De Lisle examines the key events and characters that make the Tudor story interesting… This is a very well-done popular history ideal for general readers.” Booklist

“Six centuries after they began, the Tudors are still England’s most famous family. Their story is told in full in Leanda de Lisle’s Tudor, a wonderfully fluent portrait of five generations that connects the often overlooked fifteenth century Tudors with the more famous stuff. In bridging this divide, de Lisle brings an entirely fresh feel to the Tudor story, reminding us of the one thing the monarchs themselves wanted us to forget: the sheer improbability of their royal rule.” —The Times (London)

“Europe has produced no family saga that could match the Tudors. Rarely has that story been so well told as here.” The Mail

“De Lisle's masterful command of the facts – great and small – provides a complete and entertaining overview.” The Guardian

“Leanda de Lisle’s accomplished survey of the ‘Renaissance romance and gothic horror’ of the Tudor era provides a vibrant reappraisal of this turbulent family saga… she introduces a different perspective. Avoiding sensationalism, she is meticulous in her use of sources. Her account confirms the Tudors as one of history’s great success stories, even though their reigns were marked by bloodshed, religious upheaval and the fearful prospect of a disputed succession.” The Spectator

“Absorbing… In de Lisle’s hands, this is a deeply human tale, a family tree come to vivid life, rather than a narrative of politics and power structures.” The Sunday Telegraph

“[De Lisle’s] crisp, uninterfering style lets the story tell itself. Almost every page is vivid with the well-noted detail.” The Telegraph

“Tudor is a gripping account of a family riven by passionate jealousies, murderous ambitions, and crippling tragedies. Leanda de Lisle is a master storyteller, and this is her greatest work yet. Immersive and exhaustively researched, Tudor is a triumph.” —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

Library Journal
09/15/2013
The book's subtitle is particularly apt as de Lisle makes significant efforts to touch on all members of the Tudor family and gives substantial attention to oft-overlooked figures such as Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's sister, and her daughter, Margaret Douglas. While not eschewing the importance of the era's religious conflicts, de Lisle gives the matter less foregrounding than Ackroyd, balancing it with issues such as the Tudor struggle to establish royal legitimacy. As a result of the title's scope, however, the treatment of several subjects is somewhat abbreviated, particularly in the last third of the book. VERDICT Lighter in style and rather more accessible than Ackroyd's volume, this makes an excellent choice for readers seeking a broader look at the Tudor story, especially those interested in the dynasty's founding and early days.—Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610393638
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/08/2013
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
374,798
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.00(d)

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