Gregory, Philippa The Queen's Fool

ISBN 13: 9780007425266

The Queen's Fool

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9780007425266: The Queen's Fool

A stunning novel set in the Tudor court, as the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half-sister Elizabeth is played out against a background of betrayal, conflict and passion.

The savage rivalry of the daughters of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, mirrors that of their mothers, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Each will fight by any available means for the crown and future of the kingdom.

Elizabeth’s bitter struggle to claim the throne she believes is hers by right, and the man she desires almost more than her crown, is watched by her ‘fool’: a girl who has been forced to leave her homeland of Spain, as a Jew fleeing the Inquisition. In a court where truth is wittily denied and lies are mere games, it is the fool who can speak plainly: in these dangerous times, a woman must choose between ambition and love. Elizabeth will not make the same mistakes as her mother.

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Review:

The bitter enmity between Elizabeth the First and Mary Tudor, the daughters of Henry VIII (not to mention the conflict between their mothers Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon) makes the squabbles between modern-day royals seem small beer indeed. This is particularly clear after reading something as enjoyable as Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, which treats the period and its turbulent sweep with an almost operatic grandeur. In The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory delivered a tremendous popular success and lifted this kind of popular historical writing from the realms of romantic fiction to something rich in authentic drama and convincing historical verisimilitude.

Mary and Elizabeth, the two young princesses, have a common goal: to be Queen of England. To achieve this, they need both to win the love of the people and learn how to negotiate dangerous political pitfalls. Gregory recreates this era with tremendous colour, and she makes the court an enticing but danger-fraught place. Into this setting comes the eponymous fool, the youthful Hannah, who (despite her air of guileless religiousness) is not naive. She soon finds herself having to deal with the beguiling but treacherous Robert Dudley. Dispatched to report on Princess Mary, Hannah discovers in her a passionate religious conviction (to return England to the rule of Rome and its pope) that will have fatal consequences.

From Tolstoy's War and Peace onwards, historical novelists have set fictitious characters among real-life personages with mixed success; the author's creations can often pale beside the historical figures. That is emphatically not the case here, and Gregory ensures that all her characters have a full and teeming life. Expect a major movie: something as colourful and exuberant as The Queen's Fool is a natural for screen adaptation. --Barry Forshaw

Review:

‘Philippa Gregory… is a mesmerizing storyteller.’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

‘An atmospheric read for anyone who loves to wallow in Tudor intrigue.’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘After serving up the highly delicious The Other Boleyn Girl…Gregory has concocted yet another treat from the Tudor court….I loved The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen’s Fool is even better….The pleasure to be found in this kind of historical fiction….is a
chair-by-the-fireside-on-a-cold-winter's-night kind of pleasure…it is the kind of pleasure only a born storyteller can offer.’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘A rich brew of passion and intrigue.’ DAILY MAIL

‘Potent historical romance…a thrilling plot.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

‘Fascinating…engrossing….memerising…riveting….compelling….a pacey narrative that is just begging to be read in one sitting. Most impressively of all, she has taken a story in which we all know the protagonists and the hand history dealt them and has infused it with an extraordinary sense of suspense, drama and surprise.’ SUNDAY EXPRESS

‘A splendid tale of passionate liaisons. Gregory exuberantly depicts the struggle between Mary and Elizabeth’ WOMAN & HOME

‘A hugely satisfying plot-twist-a-page story.’ TIME OUT

‘Burns with passion.’ INDEPENDENT

‘A gripping page-turner; this follow-up to The Other Boleyn Girl confirms Gregory as our best writer of historical fiction.’ CHOICE

Praise for THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL:

‘It is a credit to Gregory that she is able to sustain interest in an epic-length tale when the ending is one of the most well-known moments in English history. The very believable dialogue and detail take you all the way into the claustrophobic privy chambers of the royal palaces…Gregory has launched herself into a popular period and produced something with that most underrated of virtues: readability.’ THE TIMES

‘This is an intelligent variation on a familiar tale [with] witty use of metaphor’ TLS

‘This compulsively readable novel is a wonderful account of the tudor court…This is the finest historical novel of this year’ DAILY MAIL

Further acclaim for THE QUEEN’S FOOL:

‘With her excellent eye for detail, [Gregory] moves The Queen’s Fool along at a great pace’ MARIE CLAIRE AUSTRALIA

‘Totally absorbing…This is a triumphant piece of storytelling, not least because Gregory manages to make familiar events fresh and unloved people fascinating’ GAY TIMES

‘Gregory offers a subtle examination of the tension between profound personal faith and the dangers of imposing that faith on others.’ JEWISH QUARTERLY

‘It combines history and invention in gripping and memorable style.’ RED

‘Gregory weaves a brilliant and complex fictional web around historical fact. Hugely enjoyable’ SAINSBURY’S MAGAZINE

‘Historical fiction at its most masterly. Meticulously researched and realised and with an engaging and totally convincing heroine, The Queen’s Fool invites readers to rethink their opinions of both ‘Bloody’ Mary and the ‘Virgin’ Queen. Superbly plotted, exquisitely written with the enviable capacity to simultaneously thrill and provoke thought, this novel is even more ‘unputdownable’ than The Other Boleyn Girl’ HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW

‘Gregory serves up some more deliciously sombre moments from a factious Tudor court’ INDEPENDENT

‘Gregory’s dramatic, plot-driven novel is thoroughly readable’ SUNDAY HERALD

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