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The Fifth Queen (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – September 1, 1999
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“The best historical romance of this century.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“The Fifth Queen is a magnificent bravura piece.” —Graham Greene
About the Author
A. S. Byatt, novelist, short-story writer, and critic, is the author of many books, including Possession, winner of the Man Booker Prize.
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Top Customer Reviews
Katherine Howard, armed only with education, wit and honesty, becomes the Fifth Queen, Henry VIII's fifth wife in this amazing historical trilogy. The plot-ridden court comes to vivid life as everyone high and low maneuvers for advantage. Everyone except Katherine Howard, whose unwillingness to scheme will make her queen and defenseless at the same moment. Even knowing the general story this is a fascinating and occasionally shocking novel, with a stunning ending...
This is not quick reading, and yet it seemed like the book was finished in nothing flat. It does for Katherine Howard's reputation what Sharon Kay Penman did for Richard III's and the twins in the tower (the antithesis of shakespear's play.) Who's to say what the truth is? Because history potrays Richard as a power hungry, murdering rogue (except for a sect of people these days who are out to clear his name), and Katherine (except in this book) has always been said to be a wanton and promiscuous woman.
In The Fifth Queen, however, her character is wise and virtuous; but that Henry would have her as his wife, she'd have gone to a nunnery by choice. She believes strongly in the Catholic God and sees it as her mission to return Henry to Rome and to Catholocism and to persuade his daughter to reconcile with him.
But she's too innocent and good-hearted for those at court, who are always thinking of themselves and what's to their best advantage. As restoration of the Catholic faith would re-instate to the church lands and riches previously taken, those who are Lutheran would be left without what they gained when Henry became head of church and state. So Katherine must be dispensed with by whatever means possible.
Thus Ford's quite rational and lucid explanation for history's version of her background.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is fictional history at its best. It took me a bit to get into the language, but it chronicles the story of the queenship of Katherine Howard and is probably a lot more true... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kathryn Pegelow
Where to begin with this book...let's start with the cover. The book is about Katharine Howard, the 'fifth queen. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Katie L.
This book was recommended by other authors specializing in the Tudor era. Ford presents Katherine Howard as a thoughtful, witty, and well educated young woman. Read morePublished 22 months ago by aficianado
Katherine Howard was puritanical although as stauch Catholic, devote of the "Old Faith". Her intellectual and emotional fight was to try to turn Henry back into a good son... Read morePublished on June 11, 2014 by blooms
I had a very difficult time getting into the book & have put it aside for the time being. I'm not sure if I will get back to it.Published on February 12, 2014 by Clancy
Loved his big one, generally like historical novels and literary big wigs (eg, Graham Greene) raved about this, revisionist version of Catherine Howard, Henry viiii's second to... Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by Kim10024
This trilogy on Cromwell and Katherine Howard is marvellously vivid, but it is historically fraudulent, so what is the point? Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by Phebe
I loved this book. The author writes in a beautiful style, and you really get the feel of Old England from it.Published on January 8, 2013 by N. Martin