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King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets Paperback – Bargain Price, April 7, 2009
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Margaret Campbell Barnes provides readers with a different view of King Henry VIII and she does a solid job at backing up her interpretation of this fascinating historical era... KING'S FOOL is brilliant! (Debbie CK2's Kwips & Kritiques 20090401)
Thanks to Ms.Barnes, we see the King's fool, not as an accessory, a mere clown, but as a loving, non-judgemental human being, who has his share of misery and misfortune. (Swistek Liliana Reading Extravaganza 20090401)
I have read dozens of books on Tudor England, both fiction and non-fiction. I rank The King's Fool among the very best of them. (Cathy Cole Kittling 20090401)
[T]he King's fool himself is a fascinating character and well worth the read here. (Michele Jacobson A Reader's Respite 20090401)
I'm giving this book 5 stars because it has everything I like in a historical fiction novel: solid characters (not too good or too bad), a good plot (how can you go wrong with Henry VIII and his wives?), great wording and diction (not overly antiquated or too modern) and historical accuracy. (Arleigh Johnson Historical-Fiction.com 20090401)
There is so much packed in this small book, that you will have a royal ride in and around the lavish court life... The author does an absolutely fantastic job is sketching out each and every person in the book. (Veena Harida Give Reading a Chance Blog 20090401)
Overall, I think this is a nice work of historical fiction that definitely deserves the re-release Sourcebooks is giving it. (Meghan Kawka Medieval Bookworm 20090406)
All in all I really liked this novel - Barnes is an excellent writer and manages to fit a lot of life into 300 pages. (Amy Bruno Passages to the Past 20090409)
The King's Fool is a highly enjoyable book and definitely something to check out for fans of Tudor-era historical fiction. I hope to read more of Barnes' work. (Jen Karbaek Devourer of Books 20090409)
[Margaret Campbell Barnes] is very talented at writing dialogue and at condensing large amounts of history into a short book. I would definitely like to read more of the novels that she wrote about the court of Henry VIII. (Kristen Metson We Be Reading 20090416)
The greatest strength of the novel is Barnes' portrayal of Henry - he is an utterly believable character: young, handsome and spoiled; middle-aged, lusty and suspicious; older, diseased and worn-out. (Alana McClurey A Hoyden's Look at Literature 20090417)
Margaret Campbell Barnes envelopes the reader into the pages of her book. It is a compelling read and captures the period and Will Somers well. This book is hard to put down! Highly recommended! (Alana McClurey Historical Tapestry 20090427)
There is so much packed in this small book, that you will have a royal ride in and around the lavish court life at the times of the most popular King Henry VIII! The author does an absolutely fantastic job is sketching out each and ery person in the book, the queens are mentioned beautifully in the order they seeked the King's attention. (Veens I Just Finished 20090429)
A+... this book did not disappoint! (Kylee J. Pierce Kylee's 2009 Blog 20090528)
this book was FANTASTIC (Stacey Nerdin Book: Thirty )
... I really loved the character of Will. He loves his childhood love faithfully, he has strong character, and he often thinks of others. (Amy Riley My Friend Amy )
King's Fool is a wonderful book. It has everything a historical fiction should have. (The Girls on Books )
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
A chance meeting with King Henry was all it took for the King to take a liking to Somers and offer him to join his court. Will was a well-rounded man - honest, compassionate and loyal - he fastly became a member of the royal family and was well-liked by the court. If at first the title of jester didn't appeal to him, he quickly changed his mind when told of all the perks - jesters had free reign (sorry - bad pun) over court and could pretty much blend in anywhere. Will was jester throughout all of Henry's marriages and provides us with an unbiased account of all six debacles, as well as, the relationship between Henry and his children.
What I liked best about this book was the relationship between Will and King Henry. Will was probably the only true friend Henry ever had. I really enjoyed seeing the hidden side of Henry, the not so arrogant side - when he becomes Henry the man, not Henry the king. Henry the man is much more likable! In the very least, it made me have a bit of sympathy for Henry - it's not a life I would've wanted.
All in all I really liked this novel - Barnes is an excellent writer and manages to fit a lot of life into 300 pages, but for me I wished it had been longer. If after reading this book, you're itching to get more in-depth with Henry VIII, then I suggest Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII as told by his fool, Will Somers. This is very similar to King's Fool, albeit in reader's digest form, as George's novel is over 1000 pages.
KING'S FOOL is a reissue of a 1959 book that clearly stands the test of time. Margaret Campbell Barnes' knowledge and attention to historical detail is both meticulous and entertaining. What a brilliant concept to bring us the story of King Henry VIII through his fool, a man constantly in close contact with the King! Assuredly, Will Somers had access to many of the King's inner thoughts and was the one man in the court who could safely mock the King... and yet he could also bring a smile to a man racked with turmoil and doubts.
Margaret Campbell Barnes intertwines the historical details of the events transpiring at court with the simple desires of his fool. The love story of Will is a beautiful one and keeps KING'S FOOL from being simply another retelling of history. Instead, Margaret Campbell Barnes injects an air of humility and straightforwardness to a time period most famous for its intrigues.
Will Somers is an excellent choice for the narrator. His humble beginnings give an excellent contrast to the excesses of court while still providing some perspective on the inner thoughts of King Henry VIII.Read more ›
Thus begins the brilliant tale of Will Somers, King Henry VIII's court jester. First published in 1959 by renowned historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, I wondered why on earth I'd never heard of her before. This is a remarkable insider tale of the Tudor court, told by "a common man" who little thought that saying yes to King Henry would give him a front-row seat to history.
Will Somers arrives at court and learns to care deeply for Queen Catherine and Princess Mary before the besotted Henry decides to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn. It is a sign of Somers' intelligence that he knows how to go with the flow and keep his opinions to himself. As a result, he lives to see Elizabeth on the throne, artists include him in paintings with the king, and Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth both leave him annuities. Not bad for a Shropshire lad!
It would be easy to say that Somers' greatest gifts lay with his humor and wit, but after reading King's Fool, I would say that his forbearance and forgiveness outweighed them:
"I found myself slipping into his mind, though it was so utterly different from my own. Almost tenderly, I picked up the bedgown which had fallen to the floor and draped it welcomingly across his chair before the fire. Memories and disgusts of the last few turbulent years receded, and for some reason or other I found myself smiling at the recollection of my Uncle Tobias's comic visit to Court, and of Henry's kindness to him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always, well written. Makes you realize how very subjective history can be. I am never disappointed with this author.Published 5 months ago by Sue Stern
This one is a slow read and not quite as interesting as could be hoped considering the subject matter.Published 10 months ago by Carabele
I really enjoyed this book, weather it be factual or fiction it gives a different side of the King and his six wife's,
I would recommend this to anyone!
Good story about the court of Henry VIII, told by his jester. Woven seamlessly of life lived in and out of court. Hard to put down.Published 10 months ago by Edna M Rankine
Good book interesting point of view but ended too soon I would have liked to hear the rest of his story.Published 13 months ago by Barbara L Greene
For those of you who are great fans of this era-- mine started with an academic look at Queen Elizabeth I, then moved backwards to find the source of that incredibly fascinating... Read morePublished 14 months ago by kdd
I have read & loved all Margaret Campbell Barnes' novels. But this one only gets 4 stars because it took me a while to get thru it. Was not a page-turner! Read morePublished 14 months ago by BritishHistoryNut
I didn't know what to expect from this story. It was a very good read and I enjoyed it immensely. I have always loved reading about Henry VIII and this story comes from a... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Essie Lee Lewis