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

Margaret George, Author, William Sommers, Photographer St. Martin's Press $14.95 (932p) ISBN 978-0-312-06145-6
If Henry VIII had written his memoirs, what a fascinating document they might have been. Unfortunately, George's attempt to do the job for him in this massive, impressively researched first novel fails to capture either 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. This is a romanticized Henry, pleasure loving, sentimental and superstitious enough to blame the executions of his most faithful ministers Wolsey, Cromwell and Sir Thomas More on the ""witch'' Anne Boleyn. George is strongest at portraying Henry the ardent lover and frequently enraged husband, weakest at depicting Henry the warrior, navy builder and Machiavellian statesman. Her story has its moments, as when Henry first meets his unprepossessing wife-to-be, Anne of Cleves, plus touches of wit and a whole cartload of history. It is, however, hard to imagine a potentate of Henry's stamp feeling the need to justify his life, and harder still to imagine him doing so at such length or in such mild and distinctly 20th century prose. As for Will Somers, who interjects comments on his master, he's a far cry from the witty and entertaining fellow he must have been to keep his postand perhaps his head. 60,000 first printing; $60,000 ad/promo. (September 15)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Paperback - 944 pages - 978-0-330-29873-5
Paperback - 978-0-345-34275-1
Paperback - 960 pages - 978-0-312-19439-0
Open Ebook - 960 pages - 978-1-4299-2470-2
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