A compelling novel of the Tudors from the best-selling author of The Agincourt Bride.
The thrilling story of the first Tudor king, Henry VII and his fight for England’s crown.
Henry Tudor’s rise to the throne of England is one of the most eventful and thrilling episodes from England’s royal history. Joanna Hickson weaves a compelling tale of Henry’s grueling bid for kingship; encompassing exile, betrayal and intrigue, Henry faced obstacles at every turn. With her superb storytelling abilities, the author gets at the man behind the crown and delivers a dramatic and fascinating historical narrative.
Direct from the Publishers HarperCollins.
I’ve read few books on the Henry VII, as his predecessors (Richard II, Henry V) and his successors (Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth) seem to get more focus and are perhaps more “glamorous”? It is, however, Henry VII that comes back from exile in France to battle Richard II at Bosworth where – SPOILERS! – Richard is killed (and later found buried under a carpark).
The majority of the books alternates between Margaret Beaufort (Henry’s mother) and Henry himself. Being Lancastrian, and the mother of someone with a claim on the English Crown, Margaret’s status at court is tenuous at best, and little improved by her third marriage and her sworn allegiance to Richard.
Much of the book details the precarious early times as Henry escapes across the English Channel and lands in northern France. At the time France was not a united country and much of the north coast was either aligned more to England than to France, or decided that they were making their way as their own Dukedom. Henry remains as a “guest” of his French Cousin, though everyone is aware that he is being kept essentially as a bargaining tool and possible ransom. However, he is allowed to learn to ride, hunt and fight, which serves him well later in life.
We read about the attempts to sacrifice him back to the English, the long wait to have him rescued, and the gathering of troops for his return to England and face his uncle at Bosworth.
Meanwhile we also see how life is for his mother under a king who doesnt trust her, whilst she falls in and out of favour with the Queen. Henry was her only offspring from her first husband – she was around 14 if memory serves me right – and her second marriage was without offspring. The third marriage, which we see early in the book, is a political match made by someone else. It is a fine balancing act since her husband ends up close to the king, but whose sons are already kept under ransom in the King’s houses.
The story ends with the Battle of Bosworth, where Henry is now seen as a grown man and effective leader and fighter.
So: this was a decently written and presented story that tells of a time that we should know more about (and which might pick up after the discovery of Richard’s body several years ago)
About this author
Joanna Hickson became fascinated with history when she studied Shakespeare’s history plays at school. However, having taken a degree in Politics and English she took up a career in broadcast journalism with the BBC, presenting and producing news, current affairs and arts programmes on both television and radio. Now she writes full time and has a contract with Harper Collins for three historical novels. The Agincourt Bride is the first. She lives in Scotland in a 200 year old farmhouse and is married with a large extended family and a wayward Irish terrier.
Joanna likes people to join her on Twitter (@joannahickson) or Facebook (Joanna Hickson) and says if you can’t find her she’ll be in the fifteenth century!