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The Red Queen (Cousins' War, Book 2) Paperback – June 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nobody does the Tudors better than Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl), so it should come as no surprise that her latest—the War of the Roses as seen through the eyes of Henry VII's mother —is confident, colorful, convincing, and full of conflict, betrayal, and political maneuvering. Gregory gives readers Margaret Beaufort in her own words, from innocent nine-year-old to conspiring courtier who stops at nothing to see her son on England's throne. Gregory devotees will note the difference between the supernaturally gifted Yorkist White Queen and Lancastrian Margaret, who, despite saintly aspirations, grows worldly through three marriages; a powerless widow at 13, remarried and separated from her only son by 15, it is not until she's 29 that Margaret is ready to realize her most audacious ambitions. Gregory clones have made historical novels from a woman's perspective far too familiar to make this seem as fresh as her earlier works. Yet, like Margaret Beaufort, Gregory puts her many imitators to shame by dint of unequalled energy, focus, and unwavering execution. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Having fictionalized Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen (2009), royal chronicler Gregory now turns to Henry VIII's other indomitable grandmother. The opposite of her alluring Yorkist rival, plain Lancastrian heiress Margaret Beaufort grows up knowing women are useful only for bearing sons, but divine visions grant her an unwavering conviction about her future greatness. At age 12, she weds Lancastrian warrior Edmund Tudor and pours her ambition into his posthumous son, Henry. Constantly separated from her beloved child after her second marriage to a pacifist knight, her frustrations are palpably felt; she later brokers her own union with a crafty turncoat who may be the key to her hopes. While England seethes with discord during the turbulent Wars of the Roses, Margaret's transformation from powerless innocent to political mastermind progresses believably as rival heirs to England's throne are killed in battle, executed, or deliberately eliminated. With constant pronouncements about Margaret's God-given destiny, the approach isn't exactly subtle, but Gregory's vivid, confident storytelling makes this devout and ruthlessly determined woman a worthy heroine for her time. --Sarah Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416563733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416563730
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (640 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC Radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in History at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant worldwide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer.

Wideacre was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time.

Her next book was The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation. Then came Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol explored the human cost of slavery. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son both named John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with research and verve.

The jewel in the crown of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway bestseller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published globally, this classic historical novel won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and by Sony as a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

After adding five more novels to her Tudor Court series including The Constant Princess and The Queen's Fool, two of her best-loved works, Philippa moved back in time to write about the family that preceded the Tudors, the Plantagenets. Her bestselling six-book Cousins' War series tells the story of the bloody struggle for the throne in the Wars of the Roses from the perspective of the women behind the scenes. The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter were adapted by the BBC and Starz in 2013 as the hugely popular TV miniseries The White Queen.

Having completed The Cousins' War series with The King's Curse, Philippa has come full circle back to the Tudor court. Her next novel will be about Kateryn Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII: The Taming of the Queen. Her other work in progress is the young adult series The Order of Darkness, set in medieval Italy after the fall of Constantinople, feared at the time to be a sign of the end of the world.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster, a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4's Time Team. As well as her extensive array of historical novels she has written modern novels, children's books, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book with David Baldwin and Michael Jones: The Women of the Cousins' War.

She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gregory's tale of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, is fascinating it its treatment of a proud, fanatical mother: From the age of ten, Beaufort believes herself another incarnation of Joan D' Arc, destined to fulfill God's will and see her son on the throne of England. In sharp contrast, Beaufort is bedeviled by the rising fortunes of Elizabeth Woodville, the commoner wife of Edward IV. Woodville's marriage allows her the luxury of what Beaufort so deeply covets. With untiring tenacity, Beaufort spends hours on her knees in chapel, waiting and praying for the knowledge of God's will as politics evolve around her. Not once does she waver, even when God fails to speak, waiting patiently and fervently for her destiny. The ongoing Cousin's War between the houses of York and Lancaster pits family against family, new plots ever in the making. Yet Edward is a beloved king, the people grown tired of the ambitions of the two warring families.

As the years pass, Beaufort endures through three bloodless marriages, the last, to Thomas, Lord Stanley, purely a political union that will ultimately serve in furtherance of Margaret's goals for Henry as king of England. In the last great battle pitting York against Lancastrian, Henry is successful in bringing down the House of York with the death of Richard III, joining the white and the red rose in marriage to Woodville's daughter, Elizabeth. Margaret Beaufort is finally able to claim the title of queen mother. Unlike the worldly and selfish Woodville, Beaufort never ceases to count the faults of others, blinded to her own weaknesses, so confident is she of God's purpose. This sense of mission and determined arrogance make Beaufort, in the end, a most formidable woman.
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136 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Robin J. on August 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am a firm supporter of Richard III and I'm not the biggest fan of Philippa Gregory. When I saw that her second novel in The Cousins' War series would be about Henry Tudor's mother, Margaret Beaufort, I was quite anxious and worried about how Ms. Gregory would portray the entire drama and Richard. I can say, thankfully, that I have no complaints with how she showed him in this novel and, overall, it was a decent read (better, in my opinion, than the previous novel 'The White Queen'). Having never read much about Margaret I was fairly interested to read about her early life (as I am well versed with her later years).

Margaret Beaufort was from the line descending from John of Gaunt (Edward III's son) and his mistress Katheryn Swynford (the line was eventually legitimized). She is married at 13 to Edmund Tudor but he is killed soon after, though not before managing to get Margaret pregnant. In the years after the birth of her son, whom she names Henry (high expectations already), she is married two more times, sees the reigning House of York begin to crumble, and works behind the scenes to bring her son to the throne. Everyone knows what happens at the Battle of Bosworth and that is where this novel ends. That is Margaret's history and here Gregory has stuck to known historical fact fairly decently, though I will admit, having never read too much solely on Margaret there are probably some details I would miss. However, there is nothing glaringly obvious that jumps out at me so I can say that the historical accuracy in this novel doesn't bother me like it has in so many of her other novels.

The story is told from Margaret's point of view and I feel that severely limits the story.
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73 of 87 people found the following review helpful By YA Librarian on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book in the series The Cousin's War. One doesn't need to read The White Queen(first in the series) to understand what happens in this novel. This is good, because I'm guessing you can read the third novel in the series without reading the second one, which I strongly suggest.

Margaret Beaufort is obsessed with Joan of Arc and religion. The reader is introduced to this in the first few pages of the novel. And then they are heavily beaten over the head with this information for the next 100 pages and then only moderately beaten over the head with it for the rest of the book.

I got it. Margaret wants to be another Joan of Arc. I also understand that Margaret is on a mission from God to put her son, Henry, on the throne. Her obsession makes her a very unlikable character and the only time I felt sorry for her is when she had to marry her first husband at a very young age.

The story that unfolds is about an uptight Margaret(who became really annoying towards the end) who is constantly praying, scheming and telling everyone she comes across she is on a mission from God. She's chaste, she's dull, and she's mean as a wet hornet.

Margaret's husbands were more entertaining than she was. I think my favorite was Lord Stanley, Margaret's last husband. He marries her only for political reasons, agrees never to have sex with her and loves to be on the winning side. He also has a knack for making her angry. For example(and I'm paraphrasing) he mocks her mission from God saying of course God would want her to become wealthy and powerful, not poor and help those who are less fortunate.

The story limps along at an unusually slow pace.
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