Posted Sep 19, 2012
In these days of a close Presidential campaign, you might decide that politics is a ruthless and dangerous game. But as a fan of history and historical novels, I have been reading books about Tudor England, when you could find yourself in the king’s favor one day, rise to the height of power and wealth, and the next day crash disastrously and literally lose your head. Now that is ruthless.
Here are some books to prove the point.
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. Told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, adviser to Henry VIII, we are drawn into the story of Henry’s determination to get rid of his first wife Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, bringing about instability throughout Europe and eventually leading to the creation of the Church of England.
Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel. Continuing the story of Henry VIII’s desire to father a son and heir, again told through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who is as ruthless as necessary, we learn about the terrible fate of Anne Boleyn.
The Lady Elizabeth, by Alison Weir. The reader enters the tumultuous early life of Anne Boleyn’s daughter and her perilous path to the throne of England.
Elizabeth: the Struggle for the Throne, by David Starkey. This non-fiction biography covers the same early period of Elizabeth’s life: her dangerous journey when her destiny was unknown and she was forced to navigate using her formidable intelligence and courage.