The Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

The Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

Hardback

By (author) Thomas Penn

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 41mm | 784g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846142024
  • ISBN 13: 9781846142024
  • Illustrations note: 8 pp colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 52,117

Product description

This title was selected for "Sunday Times", "Daily Telegraph", "TLS", "Financial Times", "Guardian", "Daily Mail" and "Sunday Telegraph" Books Of The Year. "Winter King" tells the unforgettable story of Henry VII's time as King, and the fraught and unstable birth of Tudor England. Rich with incident and drama, filled with wonderfully drawn characters, it is a stunning history of pageantry, surveillance, the thirst for glory - and the first Tudor king. 'He were a dark prince, and infinitely suspicious, and his times full of secret conspiracies and troubles', Sir Francis Bacon It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and counter-coups. Henry VII had clambered to the top of the heap - a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England's crown who through luck, guile and ruthlessness had managed to win the throne and stay on it for sixteen years. Although he built palaces, hosted jousts, gave out lavish presents and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many he remained a usurper, a false king. But Henry had a crucial asset: his queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Now, in what would be the crowning glory of his reign, his elder son would marry a great Spanish princess. On a cold November day this girl, the sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon, arrived in London for a wedding upon which the fate of England would hinge...In his remarkable debut, historian Thomas Penn recreates an England which is both familiar and very strange - a country that seems medieval yet modern, in which honour and chivalry mingle with espionage, realpolitik, high finance and corruption. It is the story of the transformation of a young, vulnerable boy, Prince Henry, into the aggressive teenager who would become Henry VIII, and of Catherine of Aragon, his future queen. And at its heart is the tragic, magnetic figure of Henry VII - controlling, paranoid, avaricious, with a Machiavellian charm and will to power.

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Author information

Thomas Penn was born in 1974. He has a PhD in early Tudor history from Clare College, Cambridge. Winter King is his first book.

Review quote

A brilliant debut ... this impressive book will certainly become the definitive study of our strangest, most mysterious, king -- Desmond Seward BBC History Magazine Stunning ... effortlessly vivid prose ... a revelation. [Penn's] focus is on the last, fear-filled decade of [Henry VII's] reign, but his sinuously coiling chapters seamlessly unfold the past as well as the present of his protagonists ... [He] has pulled off a rare feat: a brilliant and haunting evocation of the Tudor world, with irresistible echoes of the age of fear in which we now live -- Helen Castor Telegraph [A] brilliant mash-up of gothic horror and political biography ... a tour de force: both scholarly and a pleasure to read, covering the breadth of the European political scene, while providing the details that allow us to feel intimately the terror at home Spectator Remarkable ... Penn brilliantly recreates the sterile atmosphere suffocating Henry's England. His eye for time, circumstance and the telling anecdote is keen. Winter King offers us the fullest, deepest, most compelling insight into the warped psychology of the Tudor dynasty's founder to have appeared since Bacon wrote Financial Times [Thomas Penn] is a superb teller of a tale, a reveller in dodgy deeds, a keen observer of the febrile, dissimulating characters of court and embassy, and a splendid limner of the great jousts and entertainments of the age ... with a sharp eye for detail and adroit use of a gifted historical imagination, ... he lets us hear the creak of oars and the scratch of pens, as well as the tubercular king fighting for every breath ... Vigorous and thoroughly enjoyable Economist I feel like I've been waiting to read this book a long time ... a fluent and compelling account ... The level of detail is fascinating and beautifully judged ... I think that, for the first time, a writer has made me feel what contemporaries felt as Henry VII's reign drew to an end; the relief, the hope, the sudden buoyancy -- Hilary Mantel, Author Of 'wolf Hall' Succeeds brilliantly ... [a] finely drawn portrait ... Penn's deft turn of phrase superbly re-creates the drama and personalities of the court -- Tracy Borman Sunday Times An exceptionally stylish literary debut. Henry VII may be the most unlikely person ever to have occupied the throne of England, and his biographers have rarely conveyed just what a weird man he was. Thomas Penn does this triumphantly, and in the process manages to place his subject in a vividly realised landscape. His book should be the first port of call for anyone trying to understand England's most flagrant usurper since William the Conqueror -- Diarmaid Macculloch A definitive and accessible account of the reign of Henry VII that will alter our view not just of Henry, but of the country he dominated and corrupted, and of the dynasty he founded ... [Penn's] point is to show that this is not the "merrie England" of the Tudor myth, but a country forced under the rule of a new king, spied on and policed for any sign of disloyalty, and tyrannised by the use of ancient half-forgotten fines and taxes -- Philippa Gregory Observer [Penn] achieves the remarkable feat of making the reign of Henry VII seem more interesting than that of his son. Winter King is well titled: the fingers of the first Tudor king, in Penn's account of his final years, are icy to the touch, and probe into every nook and cranny of the kingdom ... gripping and unexpected -- Tom Holland Guardian