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Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder. The Story of England's Most Notorious Royal Familyby Leanda De Lisle
Synopses & Reviews
In an epic narrative sweep stretching from 1399 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, TUDOR: THE FAMILY STORY traces the rise and rule of the Tudor dynasty in riveting detail. The lives of the six Tudor monarchs are memorable for the brutal instability that dominated England during this era is what would be remembered by most. Thrilling to read and bristling with intrigue, TUDOR breaks with other popular histories of this time that generally confine themselves to the vaudevillian scandals of the 1500s. It is important to remember that the Tudors contemporary context was shaped by their own fifteenth-century past and not the post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment that shapes our own views today.
TUDOR unveils the inner lives of the colorful cast of characters that made up the mise-en-scene. The shocking opening to the Tudor dynasty was laughable to contemporaries during the early fifteenth century: the unlikely marriage between Katherine of Valois, the recently widowed queen of Richard II, and Owen Tudor, the handsome Welsh commoner who, with a pirouette and a trip, landed squarely in the lap of the English Monarchy. And thats just the beginning.
This lively romp continues to accelerate on through the lives of the Tudor sovereigns—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Grey, Mary I, Elizabeth I—in similar fashion. It begs us to consider that the very heart of the Tudor obsession was indeed the origins of their dynasty and claim to the English throne. The issue—one of true kingship, the securing of national stability, and the need for a clear succession—was to be played out repeatedly during the Tudor period.
The brutal domestic dramas of the Tudor saga are vividly rendered by Leanda de Lisle as she uncovers the raison detre for Richard IIIs successors and continues to the final day of Queen Elizabeths life when, after three mere generations, the Tudors' romances and gothic horrors finally ended.
Not since Alison Weir has a book on the Tudors made for such a lively read. The controversies of the Tudor era will appeal to history buffs and soap opera fans alike, as the bestselling novels of Hilary Mantel have recently shown.
"This fresh take on the Tudor dynasty is history at its best. Covering everything from the Tudors' obscure beginnings, when a Welsh squire named Owen Tudor literally fell into the lap of Henry V's widow, Catherine of Valois, and later married her, to the death of the couple's great-great-granddaughter, Elizabeth I, British historian de Lisle (The Sisters Who Would Be Queen) has written an engaging and well-sourced account, sprinkled with provocative anecdotes that will appeal to both scholars and general readers interested in exploring how the constantly shifting Tudor family dynamics played out in the political, religious, and historical realms. De Lisle emphasizes the impact of the mysterious 1483 disappearance of two young princes in the Tower of London and the Tudors' subsequent obsession with securing the line of royal succession; she also notes the key roles played by often-overlooked female members of the extended family in the events that culminated in the accession of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, in 1485. This compelling tale is driven by three-dimensional people and relationships, and de Lisle does a fantastic job of making them feel lived and dramatic. Map, family trees, and illus. Agent: Georgina Capel, Capel & Land (U.K.). (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Tudors are Englandand#8217;s most notorious royal family. But, as Leanda de Lisleand#8217;s gripping new history reveals, they are a family still more extraordinary than the one we thought we knew.
The Tudor canon typically starts with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before speeding on to Henry VIII and the Reformation. But this leaves out the familyand#8217;s obscure Welsh origins, the ordinary man known as Owen Tudor who would fall (literally) into a Queenand#8217;s lapand#151;and later her bed. It passes by the courage of Margaret Beaufort, the pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who would help found the Tudor dynasty, and the childhood and painful exile of her son, the future Henry VII. It ignores the fact that the Tudors were shaped by their pastand#151;those parts they wished to remember and those they wished to forget.
By creating a full family portrait set against the background of this past, de Lisle enables us to see the Tudor dynasty in its own terms, and presents new perspectives and revelations on key figures and events. De Lisle discovers a family dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure its future; shows why the princes in the Tower had to vanish; and reexamines the bloodiness of Maryand#8217;s reign, Elizabethand#8217;s fraught relationships with her cousins, and the true significance of previously overlooked figures. Throughout the Tudor story, Leanda de Lisle emphasizes the supreme importance of achieving peace and stability in a violent and uncertain world, and of protecting and securing the bloodline.
Tudor is bristling with religious and political intrigue but at heart is a thrilling story of one familyand#8217;s determined and flamboyant ambition.
In an epic narrative sweeping from 1437 to the first decade of the seventeenth century, Tudor: the Family Story traces the rise and rule of the Tudor dynasty. Brutal political instability dominated England during this infamous time, and Leanda de Lisle reveals the personalities, passions, and obsessions of the men and women at its epicenter to rediscover the true significances of previously overlooked figures: from the remarkable women, so wholly devoted to securing the line of succession, to the Princes in the Tower, whose disappearances have remained a mystery for centuries.
This groundbreaking story opens at the unlikely beginning of the Tudor dynasty—with Owen Tudor, a handsome Welsh commoner who, with a pirouette and a trip, landed squarely in the lap of the English Monarchy. The struggle of Owens grandson Henry VII and his heirs to secure the line of succession—and the hopes, loves, and losses of the claimants—are the focus of this book. The universal appeal of the Tudors also lies in the family stories: of a mothers love for her son, of the husband who kills his wives, of siblings who betray one another, of reckless love affairs, of rival cousins, of an old spinster whose heirs hope to hurry her to her end.
Thrilling to read and bristling with religious and political intrigue, Tudor: The Family Story tells the true story behind the myths, throwing a fresh, new light on this perennially fascinating era.
About the Author
Leanda de Lisle is the author of two previous books about Britains history: After Elizabeth and The Sisters Who Would Be Queen. She received her Masters degree in Modern History from Oxford University. She now lives in Leicestershire, England with her husband and three sons.
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