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The Queen's Fool Paperback – February 4, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 479 customer reviews
Book 26 of 52 in the Saint Series

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Editorial Reviews


'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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels are the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen. Her most recent novel is Three Sisters, Three Queens. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds an honorary degree from Teesside University, and is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Later Printing edition (February 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743246071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (479 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This best selling English author of historical fiction has written yet another interesting work. This novel takes place during the reign of Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon. She would leave a legacy that would cause her to be known as "Bloody Mary" for her burning of heretics.
The narrator is a girl named Hannah Green, a young teenager who has fled Spain and its Inquisition with her father, following the death of her mother. She had been burned alive at the stake as a heretic, when it was discovered that she was a "Marrano", a false Christian, that is, a Jew who has converted to Christianity but who follows the Jewish faith in secret.
Landing in London, where her father opens a book store, Hannah makes the acquaintance of a handsome rake, Sir Robert Dudley, who discovers that Hannah has the gift of sight. She develops a personal relationship with him that eventually sees her enter into Queen Mary's service as her fool. Hannah serves Queen Mary, but at the same time, is sent by the Queen to serve her half-sister the Princess Elizabeth and spy upon her.
Meanwhile, Sir Robert Dudley also uses Hannah in his treasonous plot to see the Princess Elizabeth on the throne of England. So, Hannah finds herself walking a dangerous tightrope and is fearful of discovery of her role in the political intrigues that are welling around her, as well as discovery of her own background, which would be grounds for death. Her worst fears are nearly realized when the Queen marries Prince Phillip of Spain.
In the midst of all this political intriguing that appears to be going on all around her, Hannah has her own immediate future to think about, as she becomes betrothed to another Marrano such as herself.
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Format: Paperback
Philippa Gregory is one of the best historical novelists writing today, and she's at the top of her game with this book. As in the Meridon trilogy and "Wise Woman," she infuses her historical romance with a touch of mysticism. She takes the daring approach here of making Mary the sympathetic Tudor and Elizabeth the nasty one, and creates a most likeable heroine in Hannah Green, a Jewish clairvoyant in boy's garb who is a nice mixture of audacity and empathy. It sounds far-fetched, but Gregory pulls you in with believable (though not exactly period) dialogue, discreet sex, and fast-paced adventure. Hannah's emotions and reactions are always realistic, and neatly woven into the fantastically convoluted events of 1552-58. She lets "Bloody Mary" off a bit too easily regarding the burning of Protestant heretics (though of course, real life punished Mary badly enough), and makes Robert Dudley seem more of a matinee idol and less the calculating courtier that he was, but then this story is told from the point of view of an adolescent girl, so it's not really a flaw. There are many hints of a sequel in the novel, so I'm looking forward to her next revisionist take on the legendary Tudor women. I just hope we'll see more of Hannah Green, too.
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Format: Paperback
Phillipa Gregory does a wonderful job of recreating a historical period, and I did enjoy her other Tudor work, The Other Boleyn Girl. I expected to enjoy this one as much, but couldn't.
I found the indiscriminately sympathetic portrayal of Mary (known to history as Bloody Mary) troubling. The author seemed to think that because Mary was a wronged wife, her excesses were excusable. Even more disturbing, and harder to swallow, is that the main character, Hannah, a secret Jew who lives in fear of being burned as heretic, remains loyal and uncritical of Mary until the end.
Either Hannah is an insensitive hypocrite, indifferent to the suffering of others because of her own safety as a royal favorite, or she is a poorly drawn character. It is hard to believe someone whose own mother was burned at the stake could remain loyal to a woman who sent so many to be burned alive.
Gregory blames Mary's ministers, pretending Mary was largely unaware of what was being done. A ruler with Mary's absolute power "unaware"? That makes her either a disconnected, incompetent ruler (not Gregory's view), or one so weak she was completely dominated by her ministers, which there is no reason to believe.
Gregory did succeed in showing how sad Mary's life was in many ways: Early separation from her mother due to her father's selfish whims, loss of her position, a youth spent in a kind of exile, an unfaithful husband.
However, I also saw her parents' flaws in her: obsessive attachment to a indifferent man, fanaticism and sense of absolute truth which both parents possessed, and worse, a ruthlessness and cruelty in enforcing her will inherited from her father.
"Bloody Mary" traumatized her country and was, ironically, probably one of the reasons England turned staunchly Protestant.
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Philippa Gregory's THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL is one of my favorite books. When I accidentally discovered this book at a bookstore, I bought it immediately and expected to love it just as much! I can't say that I did!
I never felt any kind of a bond with the main character, Hannah, and the story never seemed to pick up any steam. Although I think that the author tried to portray Hannah as young woman discovering her independence and asserting her individuality and strength, I found her to be wishy-washy, timid, indecisive and just plain disloyal. One moment she was the faithful servant of a member of the royal family and the next moment she was spying on them. She should have been tried for treason a hundred times over! The premise of the story (the unlikely relationship of a young Jewish girl escaping the Spanish Inquisition only to become an intimate member of the English royal court) was very interesting and carried so much potential, but the story never went anywhere and the details were superficial. The fact that Hannah was not a real person only added to my frustration in trying to determine to what extent the storyline details actually took place.
On a positive note, I did enjoy learning alittle more about 'Bloody Mary.' I have read so much lately pertaining to the Tudors, but have only limited background on this Queen.
All in all, I can say that I will definitely read any forthcoming book from Philippa Gregory, but can't say that this one compares on any level to some of her previous works.
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