Three generations of the Tudor dynasty ruled England between 1485 and 1603. A wealth of fiction has been written about the Tudors: mostly about Henry VIII (and his wives) and Elizabeth I. Some fiction has been written about Edward VI and Mary I, but very little about Henry VII the founder of the dynasty.
Henry Tudor (1457-1509) ruled over England for 24 years from 1485. He was the son of Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond and Margaret Beaufort. Edmund Tudor was half-brother to Henry VI of England; Margaret Beaufort was descended from Edward III. Her descent was illegitimate, through Edward III’s son John of Gaunt and his mistress, Catherine Swynford. During Henry’s childhood, as the War of the Roses raged, the crown either belonged to Henry VI of Lancaster or Edward IV of York.
In this novel, Mr Field follows the life of Henry Tudor from the age of 12, through his semi-captivity, his years of exile in France, his return to England and his rule as Henry VII. We see a cautious boy become a cautious man, and then a careful king. I won’t recount more of the history here: Mr Field includes the major events of Henry VII’s reign and prepares the scene for the second of six books which will make up his Tudor saga.
While I’m pleased to read fiction featuring Henry VII, some aspects of the storytelling didn’t work well for me. Would Henry VII have smirked, I wondered? Would he have sworn on a bible that he had nothing to do with the death of the royal princes consigned to the Tower by Richard of Gloucester? Perhaps. On the other hand, I could appreciate Henry VII’s insecurity as first one and then a second rebellion was raised against him. I could also appreciate some of the challenges he had to meet because years of civil war had depleted the treasury.
I enjoyed the novel and will be interested in reading the second.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Sapere Books (7 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1913028399
- ISBN-13: 978-1913028398
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 354 g
- Customer Reviews: 53 customer ratings
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
70,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #803 in Cultural Heritage Fiction