Henry VIII in his very own words

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 June, 2012, 12:00am


H. M. Castor
Published by Templar
ISBN 978 184877 500 8

Henry VIII (1491-1547) is probably the most famous British king. He began his reign as an educated and charismatic 17-year-old, but went on to become a highly controversial figure.

He is best remembered for his break from the Roman Catholic Church because the pope would not let him divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. He had several more wives after killing off his earlier ones.

By the time he died, in 1547, Henry had become an obese, unpopular and cruel king. So what brought about the change?

Many films, plays and books have tried to tackle that subject, such as the 2008 movie The Other Boleyn Girl and the popular TV series The Tudors.

Now writer H. M. Castor is taking on a much-covered subject in her young adult novel VIII. But has she got anything new to say?

VIII is an ambitious novel that makes Henry the storyteller of his own life. And what a story he has to tell. It has everything a modern reader wants in a novel: power, war, magic, passion, religion, suspense and destiny.

Castor brilliantly unwraps a long and complex life into a 400-page novel that will appeal to modern young readers. She does so without dumbing down the central character.

The first-person narrative - in the present tense - makes for a vibrant and gripping page-turner. Nothing in the story is dry or dull.

Henry VIII truly comes alive - in his very own words.