The Autobiography of Henry VIII is the magnificent historical novel that established Margaret George's career. Evocatively written in the first person as Henry VIII's private journals, the novel was the product of fifteen years of meticulous research and five handwritten drafts.
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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Read multiple times
One of my favorites! I've read this book more times than I can remember. Never gets old.
George is a jewel
She has done it again and again. Beautifully written, intense, dramatic, sensual, fantastic. You can't go wrong with any of George's novels. You will not be disappointed with this historical fiction. Recommend fully.
Btw, for the reviewer who wishes David Case to "retire and go away": no longer fret, Mr. Case unfortunately passed away from throat cancer in 2005. I didn't think the narrator was that bad but to each his/her own I guess.
The Autobiography of King Henry VIII
This is a very entertaining book. I hated to stop reading it every night....
Worth every penny!