The Autobiography of Henry VIII
With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
By Margaret George
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312194390, 960pp.)
Publication Date: September 1998
Categories: Historical - General
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.
Margaret George is the author of Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Elizabeth I: A Novel, among others. George first got the idea to write historical fiction when, after reading numerous novels that viewed Henry VIII through the eyes of his enemies and victims, she started to wonder if there might be another story. She became determined to let Henry speak for himself, and it took fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England to see every extant building associated with Henry, and five handwritten drafts for her to answer the question: What was Henry really like? Margaret George was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has traveled extensively. She and her husband live in Madison, Wisconsin.
"A remarkable achievement...Magnificently researched and admirably written." --Mary Stewart
"Her novel is a...banquet feast for most readers...astonishing. There's rousing drama, robust atmosphere and consistently solid characterization; and finally, Margaret George's triumph is anchored in the urgent rhythm her writing attains." --Forth Worth Star Telegram
"It doth brim with lust, violence, cruelty and living conservation...Margaret George has found a new and fresh way to tell the story. --Detroit Free Press