Penguin £8.99 (448pp) £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Winter King, By Thomas Penn
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 16 March 2012
In August 1485, with a feeble force, young warlord Henry Tudor landed at Milford Haven. A month later, after Bosworth, he was king of England.
This supremely readable, expert and confident biography of Henry VII restores the first Tudor king to a time before hindsight. Beset by pretenders, the new monarch had to halt the "cycle of violence" with him at the top of the wheel.
Penn shows in captivating detail how he did so, with the Spanish alliance abroad – as Catherine of Aragon married first the doomed Arthur, then the future Henry VIII – and an aggressive policy of state empowerment at home.
This new England owed its muscle to the strongarm revenue-raising practised for Henry by licensed thugs. That glorious Tudor rose had muck around its roots.
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