King’s Fool, A Notorious King, the six wives anf the one Man who Knows their Secrets By Margaret Campbell Barnes Published By SourceBooks Landmark 290Pages. Publishing on April 1st, 2009. First of all, many thanks to Renne from ijustfinished.com to send me a book of my favorite genre, Historical Fiction 🙂 to review. From the back cover,
When country lad Will Somers lands himself the plum position of jester to the mercurial King Henry VIII, he has no idea that he has just been handed the front-row seat to history.
With a seat near the throne and an ear to the floor, Somers witnesses firsthand the dizzying power struggles and sly scheming that marked the reign of the fiery Tudor King. Somers watches the rise and fall of some of the most enigmatic women in history, including the tragic Katherine of Aragon, the doomed Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor, who confided in the jester as she made the best of the fragile life of a princess whom everyne wished was a prince…
History is my favorite, but I am illiterate as far as I can see and I am making up for it, by reading Historical Fiction. To begin with, this story is narrated by Will Somers, who was born in Shropshire. Will’s mother died when he was 4 years old due to the plague that infected those parts of the world and his dad was a teacher. He was not attached to his dad, but he was brought up well-versed in Latin and with an interest in music[ which was attributed to his mother’s lineage]. Will as a young man goes about to work for his Uncle Tobias where, with favorable luck he meets his first and beloved master Richard Fermor. Fermor takes him to Easton Neston where Will is employed as a clerk, meets some of the most warmest people and where he lays for the first time his eyes on the very beautiful Joanna, the youngest of Fermor’s kids. Joanna being the kind-hearted soul helps him gain a kind of visibility in front of his masters, and soon Will is running around doing important work for the master and his beautiful daughter. Fermor in one of his visits to London takes Wills along to meet the Cardinal. And there in London Will and his master see the King himself, the tall atheletic Tudor, King Henry VIII. The King is playing the last round and the tension grows up, but in the end the King wins the game. In the excitememnt that follows and to the wide cry of support for the King, Will unconsciously jumps out and imitates Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Herediatry Earl Marshal of England! The King notices him instantly, and the fun-loing Tudor laughs and says,
“By the Holy Rood, Will Somers, I like you for a witty, impudent knave! By your master’s leave, who brought you here, we will keep you as our jester”
And thus WIll Somers becomes the King’s Fool, his jester, his companion, his confidant, his friend… and served him for 20 long years! Will Somer’s saw the rise and fall of the King’s 6 wives , their influences on the King, and the thoughts of the commoners and the Court of the King about them and the King’s passion for a legitimate son! His cruelty, but undeniable kindness. His weaknesses and his strength. Will got the King’s undisputable love, and was most loyal to the King himself! Will Somers knew all of the 6 Queens, but loved only one – Queen Katherine, King’s first and the most loved wife! His love and affection for Princess Mary, daughter of Queen Katherine and the King is heart-warming. His affection and loyality for the King, despite some of his cruelties is also a great thing to see. There is so much packed in this small book, that you will have a royal ride in and around the lavish court life at the times of the most popular King Henry VIII! The author does an absolutely fantastic job is sketching out each and ery person in the book, the queens are mentioned beautifully in the order they seeked the King’s attention. Not just the Queen’s, but the other men who ruled the country under the King, Wolsey, then Thomas Cranmer.; their dominance have been etched beautifully. The cruelty of Thomas Cranmer, had me in so much vengenece against him! The ties and issues with neighboring countries, the plague in London, the trade, the way the common men lived and their issues and much more! In the end, you have no harsh or hard feelings about the King himself, inspite of the cruel killings of 2 Queens he orders! Inspite of letting Cranmer have his way and inspit of him being so driven to marry for just a son, inspit of him marrying milady Anne of Cleves and then making him his sister! Inspite of everything you just love the King, for more reasons than I can put here! It is a must-read for anyone who would love to know about King Henry VIII and his rule. To know about that era in the history. A definite 5 on 5!