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Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor Englandby Thomas Penn
Synopses & Reviews
A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors—the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty—filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII.
1501 England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry VII clambered to the top of the heap—a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for sixteen years.
Although he built palaces, hosted magnificent jousts, and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many Henry VII remained a false king. But he had a crucial asset: his family—the 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.
Thomas Penn re-creates an England that is both familiar and very strange—a country medieval yet modern, in which honor and chivalry mingle with espionage, real politik, 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, as well as Henry VII—controlling, avaricious, paranoid, with Machiavellian charm and will to power.
Rich with incident and drama, filled with wonderfully drawn characters, Winter King is an unforgettable tale of pageantry, intrigue, the thirst for glory—and the fraught, unstable birth of Tudor England.
"Transforming himself from an exile with a dubious claim to England's throne into the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII's (1457 — 1509) micromanagement and questionable tax collection practices enabled the later success of his descendents Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Penn (editorial director of Verso Books in London and with a doctorate in medieval history) rescues the founding Tudor from the shadows with insight into his politically expedient yet loving marriage to Elizabeth of York, a Plantagenet heir, and chronicles Henry's careful conclusion of the exhausting multigenerational Wars of the Roses. With occasional digressions, Penn still entertains casual readers with a brisk, almost conversational tone bolstered by ample context, especially when recounting the convoluted and politically fraught family history. Tudor scholars will appreciate Pen's well-documented attention to the elder king's steadfast devotion to stability, to the character formation of the young heir, Prince Henry, and Penn's revealing analysis of why in the last years of his reign, Henry earned respect but not love from his people. , Illus., maps. Agent: Aitken Alexander Associates (U.K.) (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and countercoups. Through luck, guile and ruthlessness, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings, had clambered to the top of the heap—a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s throne. 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. Queen Elizabeth was a member of the House of York. Henry himself was from the House of Lancaster, so between them they united the warring parties that had fought the bloody century-long Wars of the Roses. Now their older son, Arthur, was about to marry a Spanish princess. On a cold November day sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon arrived in London for a wedding that would mark a triumphal moment in Henry’s reign.
In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII—a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.
Rich with drama and insight, Winter King is an astonishing story of pageantry, treachery, intrigue and incident—and the fraught, dangerous birth of Tudor England.
About the Author
Thomas Penn is publisher of Verso Books, London. He holds a Ph.D. in medieval history from Clare College, Cambridge University and has frequently reviewed books for the Times Literary Supplement.
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