Compelling account of the first 35 years of a magnificent and ruthless monarch.
Although Hutchinson, a British journalist and former publishing director, points out that Henry VIII was not the "great libertine with an insatiable debauched appetite that some fiction writers would have us believe," his fifth book on Tudor England (Elizabeth's Spy Master) should still please those fans of the salacious television series The Tudors who would like to set Henry's early reign in its proper factual context. Hutchinson delves into the forces that shaped Henry VIII from his birth in 1491 to the birth in 1533 of his daughter Elizabeth. Hutchinson is admirable at pulling out amusing tidbits from the primary sources he obviously plumbed to write this breezy account of how Henry's cloistered youth influenced his public role as monarch. Hutchinson points out that the early Tudors realized their hold upon the English throne would always be precarious, and thus ruthlessly eliminated rival claimants and were obsessed about producing enough male heirs to ensure the succession. While often enlivened by Hutchinson's irreverent commentary, the book bogs down in detail at times, and skips over pertinent information at others. 16 pages of color photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Thomas Dunne Books
October 28, 2012
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