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The King's Curse [Format Kindle]

Philippa Gregory
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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The King’s Curse

WESTMINSTER PALACE, LONDON, 29 NOVEMBER 1499


Images

In the moment of waking I am innocent, my conscience clear of any wrongdoing. In that first dazed moment, as my eyes open, I have no thoughts; I am only a smooth-skinned, tightly muscled young body, a woman of twenty-six, slowly waking with joy to life. I have no sense of my immortal soul, I have no sense of sin or guilt. I am so deliciously, lazily sleepy that I hardly know who I am.

Slowly, I open my eyes and realize that the light coming through the shutters means that it is late in the morning. As I stretch out, luxuriously, like a waking cat, I remember that I was exhausted when I fell asleep and now I feel rested and well. And then, all in a moment, as if reality had suddenly tumbled down on my head like glossy-sealed denouncements from a high shelf, I remember that I am not well, that nothing is well, that this is the morning I hoped would never come; for this morning I cannot deny my deadly name: I am the heir of royal blood, and my brother—guilty as I am guilty—is dead.

My husband, sitting on the side of my bed, is fully dressed in his red velvet waistcoat, his jacket making him bulky and wide, his gold chain of office as chamberlain to the Prince of Wales splayed over his broad chest. Slowly, I realize he has been waiting for me to wake, his face crumpled with worry. “Margaret?”

“Don’t say anything,” I snap like a child, as if stopping the words will delay the facts, and I turn away from him into the pillow.

“You must be brave,” he says hopelessly. He pats my shoulder as if I were a sick hound puppy. “You must be brave.”

I don’t dare to shrug him off. He is my husband, I dare not offend him. He is my only refuge. I am buried in him, my name hidden in his. I am cut off from my title as sharply as if my name had been beheaded and rolled away into a basket.

Mine is the most dangerous name in England: Plantagenet, and once I carried it proudly, like a crown. Once I was Margaret Plantagenet of York, niece of two kings, the brothers Edward IV and Richard III, and the third brother was my father, George, Duke of Clarence. My mother was the wealthiest woman in England and the daughter of a man so great that they called him “Kingmaker.” My brother, Teddy, was named by our uncle, King Richard, as heir to the throne of England, and between us—Teddy and me—we commanded the love and the loyalty of half the kingdom. We were the noble Warwick orphans, saved from fate, snatched from the witchy grip of the white queen, raised in the royal nursery at Middleham Castle by Queen Anne herself, and nothing, nothing in the world was too good or too rich or too rare for us.

But when King Richard was killed, we went overnight from being the heirs to the throne to becoming pretenders, survivors of the old royal family, while a usurper took the throne. What should be done with the York princesses? What should be done with the Warwick heirs? The Tudors, mother and son, had the answer prepared. We would all be married into obscurity, wedded to shadows, hidden in wedlock. So now I am safe, cut down by degrees, until I am small enough to conceal under a poor knight’s name in a little manor in the middle of England where land is cheap and there is nobody who would ride into battle for the promise of my smile at the cry of “À Warwick!”.

I am Lady Pole. Not a princess, not a duchess, not even a countess, just the wife of a humble knight, stuffed into obscurity like an embroidered emblem into a forgotten clothes chest. Margaret Pole, young pregnant wife to Sir Richard Pole, and I have already given him three children, two of them boys. One is Henry, named sycophantically for the new king, Henry VII, and one is Arthur, named ingratiatingly for his son Prince Arthur, and I have a daughter, Ursula. I was allowed to call a mere girl whatever I wanted, so I named her for a saint who chose death rather than be married to a stranger and forced to take his name. I doubt that anyone has observed this small rebellion of mine; I certainly hope not.

But my brother could not be rechristened by marriage. Whoever he married, however lowly she was, she could not change his name as my husband has changed mine. He would still hold the title Earl of Warwick, he would still answer to Edward Plantagenet, he would still be the true heir to the throne of England. When they raised his standard (and someone, sooner or later, was bound to raise his standard) half of England would turn out just for that haunting flicker of white embroidery, the white rose. That is what they call him: “the White Rose.”

So since they could not take his name from him, they took his fortune and his lands. Then they took his liberty, packing him away like a forgotten banner, among other worthless things, into the Tower of London, among traitors and debtors and fools. But though he had no servants, no lands, no castle, no education, still my brother had his name, my name. Still Teddy had his title, my grandfather’s title. Still he was Earl of Warwick, the White Rose, heir to the Plantagenet throne, a living constant reproach to the Tudors, who captured that throne and now call it their own. They took him into the darkness when he was a little boy of eleven and they did not bring him out until he was a man of twenty-four. He had not felt meadow grass under his feet for thirteen years. Then he walked out of the Tower, perhaps enjoying the smell of the rain on the wet earth, perhaps listening to the seagulls crying over the river, perhaps hearing beyond the high walls of the Tower the shouts and laughter of free men, free Englishmen, his subjects. With a guard on either side of him, he walked across the drawbridge and up to Tower Hill, knelt before the block, and put his head down as if he deserved to die, as if he were willing to die; and they beheaded him.

That happened yesterday. Just yesterday. It rained all day. There was a tremendous storm, as if the sky was raging against cruelty, rain pouring down like grief, so that when they told me, as I stood beside my cousin the queen in her beautifully appointed rooms, we closed the shutters against the darkness as if we did not want to see the rain that on Tower Hill was washing blood into the gutter, my brother’s blood, my blood, royal blood.

“Try to be brave,” my husband murmurs again. “Think of the baby. Try not to be afraid.”

“I’m not afraid.” I twist my head to speak over my shoulder. “I don’t have to try to be brave. I have nothing to fear. I know that I am safe with you.”

He hesitates. He does not want to remind me that perhaps I do still have something to fear. Perhaps even his lowly estate is not humble enough to keep me safe. “I meant, try not to show your grief . . .”

“Why not?” It comes out as a childish wail. “Why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t I grieve? My brother, my only brother, is dead! Beheaded like a traitor when he was innocent as a child. Why should I not grieve?”

“Because they won’t like it,” he says simply.

Images

Revue de presse

“The book’s greatest strength is its first-hand, fascinating yet horrifying view of Henry VIII’s transition from handsome young prince to monstrous tyrant. . . . Gregory takes us beyond the seductive trappings of historical detail and makes us feel the terror of what living through that turbulent period might have been like.”—Miami Herald

“Without a doubt, Gregory has made another powerful addition to the genre (so much so that I hesitate to even call it historical fiction). This historian’s extensive knowledge of the English monarchy truly brings this famous story to life.”—The Sun-News (Myrtle Beach)

“An excellent addition to the Tudor royalty genre, not only for its unique perspective, but also the easy flow of the narrative and the intriguing complexities of characters’ personalities.”—Historical Novel Society

“Infuses vitality into an oft-forgotten player in the aftermath of the War of the Roses—Margaret Poole, heiress to the defeated Plantagenet clan.”—Closer

“Margaret’s story is shocking, deeply moving and offers an alternative view on a much-told tale. Gregory is on form here; her depiction of Henry VIII’s transformation from indulged golden boy to sinister tyrant is perfectly pitched and seems more horrific still when we are made intimate witnesses to the devastation of Margaret’s family. . . . I defy anyone to remain dry-eyed as the story reaches its tragic denouement.”—The Sunday Express (UK)

“[A] gripping and detailed chronicle, with plenty of court intrigue and politics to spice up the action . . . . Highly recommended.” Library Journal (starred review)

“Nobody does dynastic history like Gregory.” (Booklist)

"Gregory manages to keep us in suspense as to what will befall her characters....Under [her] spell, we keep hoping history won't repeat itself.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"An illuminating portrait. . . Gregory moves confidently through a tangle of intrigue, revenge, and tyranny toward a shocking betrayal." (Publishers Weekly)

"Loyalties are torn, paranoia festers and you can almost hear the bray of royal trumpets as the period springs to life. It’s a bloody irresistible read." (People Magazine)

"Bring on the blood, sex and tears! . . . You name it, it's all here." (USA Today)

“This rich tapestry brings to vivid life the court of Henry and Elizabeth. Meticulously drawn characters with a seamless blending of historical fact and fiction combine in a page-turning epic of a story. Tudor-fiction fans can never get enough, and they will snap this one up.” (Library Journal (starred review))

"The White Princess features one of the more intriguing theories about the possible fate of the princes." (The Washington Post)

“The queen of royal fiction.” (USA Today)

“Gregory ... always delivers the goods.” (New York Post)

"Gorgeous fun." (New York Daily News)

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4.0 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Philippa Gregory is an exceptional historian who always uses her imagination to provide her readers with a possible scenario of what might have been. I found her ideas very interesting and plausible set in the greater context of what had happened after Bosworth and the arrival of Henry VII through to the reign of Henry VIII. The survival of the main character throughout the terrible experiences of her life was extraordinary. The documentation of the fall of Church of Rome, the monasteries and the Pilgrimage of Grace provided the reader with an insight into the perdify of Henry VIII, particularly his treatment of Robert Aske that enlarged the dimension of the novel. For anyone interested in history this is a good read.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great read 5 octobre 2014
Par Penny
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A fascinating look at an underappreciated figure in Tudor England. We have seen a little of Margaret Pole in Gregory's other novels but I have a lot more empathy for her.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Deçue 17 septembre 2014
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Tres mal fini ,je n'ai jaimais vue un livre dans cette etat, pages irregulieres deçue, c'est vraiment l'aspect dechiré des pages qui est dommage
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  641 commentaires
94 internautes sur 101 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 GREAT WAY TO END A GREAT SERIES! 21 août 2014
Par Amazon Book Reviewer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory is the sixth and concluding novel in The Cousins' War series, and follows in the footsteps of its preceding books - The White Princess, The Kingmaker's Daughter, The Lady of the Rivers, The Red Queen and The White Queen. This final chapter in The Cousins' War saga is centered on Margaret Pole, the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, who was executed for treason by his own brother, King Edward IV. Though not a prominent player in the story in the earlier books, some passing references have been made about her without going into too much detail. The King's Curse chronicles the tumultuous period from 1499-1541, around the period when Katharine of Aragon comes to England and her eventual death.

It is not easy to bring history to life, let alone discuss about it, more so when it comes historical figures. Philippa Gregory deserves to be commended for a work well done. What is striking about The Cousins' War, particularly The King's Curse, is the meticulous research undertaken to bring the details to life, and this book, as with the others is well researched and detailed. It paints a fascinating picture of Margaret Pole, who is the cousin of King Henry VIII's mother, Queen Elizabeth of York. Her Plantaganent bloodlines make her a strong contender to the throne. But the lesson of her innocent brother who was executed as a young man just because of his royal blood left a permanent mark on her. She is determined not to draw attention either to herself or her children.

Set at a time when the Tudors are on the throne and not the Yorks, The King's Curse is a story of political intrigue, loyalty, loss and love. It is about significant events in the lives of Henry VIII, Katharine of Aragon, Princess Mary, and Lady Margaret Pole. It provides an in-depth look at the life of a woman who was both powerful and vulnerable, and fittingly brings to an end a series that is both engaging and enlightening.
70 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The last colourful piece in The Cousins' War jigsaw - enjoyable and thought-provoking! 23 août 2014
Par Kirsten - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
While other protagonists in the Cousins War series are obsessed with gaining or retaining the throne, the King's Curse is narrated by Margaret Pole, the daughter of George Duke of Clarence and the niece of Edward IV and Richard III. If you have read The Kingmaker's Daughter, you know about her tragic childhood - her mother died young, her father disappeared into the tower for treason, and her maternal aunt, wife of Richard III died broken-hearted before the Battle of Bosworth.
Margaret and her younger brother survived all this, and at the beginning of The King's Curse, she is married and banished to the country out of the new king's sight. Her brother is not so lucky, banished to the tower as a punishment for being born too close to the throne.
Margaret doesn't seem to have any ambitions to regain the throne for herself or her family. She is happy with minor royal responsibilities, such as looking after the new Spanish princess Katherine who comes to England to marry Arthur Prince of Wales. While she suffers indignities and injustices under Henry VII, she chooses to pursue a rewarding country life, looking after her lands and her people. Henry even stifles this ambition when he drives her into poverty after her husband dies. Then Henry VIII becomes king and he does not seem to have his father's craven mistrust of Margaret's heritage. She is welcomed back to the palace where she attends the beautiful young queen Katherine. When Katherine gives birth to her first son, Henry asks his beloved cousin Margaret to raise this new prince.

But the baby prince dies and the new king becomes obsessed with his own failure to sire an heir to his throne. He tests his power to the limit, violently defying his subjects, his advisers, his loyal wife and even his God as if a tantrum could get him a son. Meanwhile Margaret quietly nurtures her family of four boys and a girl, so they become powerful and influential members of court without ever admitting how close they are to the succession.

Over the years, during Katherine's downfall and the rise of Anne Boleyn, Margaret has to do some fast talking to protect her family and her lands, without being accused of treason. She narrates the horror of Henry's reign, describing a brutal tyrant who would not listen to rational argument and executed good men simply for disagreeing with him. She also describes the disastrous effect when Henry dissolves the monasteries, which worked as England's social security system, offering shelter and support to the sick and poor.

Margaret is pragmatic, with a fierce desire to live. Her death is one of the defining moments of Henry VIII's reign - he executed his cousin, the woman who had helped raise him, had raised his daughter Mary and whose sons had supported him without ever hinting that they had a comparable claim to the throne. He executed her when she was in her 60s without a trial - her death is legendary because she fought back when the executioner swung his axe.

Most books about Henry VIII focus on his personal life rather than the life of citizens during his reign - this book is the exception because even though Margaret is a peripheral member of the royal family, she describes how Henry's obsession with absolute power affected the country. This book brings home the arbitrary brutality of Henry's reign and shows the far-reaching effects of allowing certain favourites to seize land and treasures from the monasteries. It's maddening not to be able to tell Henry to concentrate on his own beautiful daughters who were both there, and both non-threatening successors to the throne. After reading this book, I wonder if the desire for a son was more about proving his manhood than securing the throne for future generations.

An enjoyable and thought-provoking read for a long time Tudor fan! While this book might end The Cousin's War, I could see some threads towards future books - I'm guessing I'll see Reginald Pole and Princess Mary again!
56 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good ending, not so good a protagonist. 4 septembre 2014
Par dprallon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I've been following the Cousin's War saga since the first book, and waiting eagerly for the next one - and now it's finally finished.

This book works perfectly well - naturally so - as both the last book of this saga and as a story set during her Tudor stories (it starts almost 1/3 into "The Constant Princess" and ends up to almost half of "The Boleyn Inheritance"). It talks mostly about Henry VIII's reign and his fall from the most promising prince in Christendom to a tyrant married to a child -- all while managing to make one feel for his losses.

Margaret Pole, the protagonist of the novel, lived - or rather, survived - through some of the most turbulent period of the English History, from the second half of the war of roses to the beginnings of Anglicanism. Her story is remarkable; as is everything we can safely learn about her. As someone who generally sides deeply with York, I was looking forward to it. That said, she makes a rather unsympathetic protagonist - specially if you've learned to love and care for Gregory's protagonists through (both) the series. Extremely proud, overtly conscious of her own royal blood, Margaret looks down on EVERYONE around - except, perhaps, Catherine of Aragon. Not even her beloved cousin Elizabeth (Henry's mother) is excused from her sense of self-importance and she loses no opportunity to vilify everyone she sees as an "upstart" - from Woodville's to the Boleyns, passing through the Tudors themselves and her own loyal husband.

I still cared and felt for her children and grandchildren, I admired the written ending here, but most of the time I just wanted to smack the old lady in her head - both for bring arrogant and for the incredible amount of hypocrisy she shows. Naturally, in such court, it is necessary to lie and pretend, but doing so while thinking oneself better than the others was just too much for me.

Still, it's worth reading, specially if you've liked Gregory's previous works.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Absorbing Historical Read 8 septembre 2014
Par Deborah Porter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
You would think after all the books written about the Tudors, specifically King Henry VIII and his wives, one would eventually become a little bored. After all, haven't we heard/read/seen it all before?

I must admit that thought crossed my mind before starting The King's Curse, but the page turning appeal of this historical novel disproved that idea completely. Apart from a couple of very brief places that lagged a little, this book had me staying up late at night turning pages right to the very end.

Told from the fictional first person viewpoint of the very real woman, Margaret Pole--older cousin to the King, but of the Plantagenet line--the reader observes the ever growing insanity of life in the Tudor court through Margaret's experience. This is not a particularly sympathetic picture of the most notorious of all British royals (King Henry VIII); however, the author still manages to show the child and man he was before the corruption of power and poor advice, mingled with misfortune, took its toll.

As I neared the conclusion, two well known sayings came to mind:

1. Absolute power corrupts absolutely; and
2. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

These two sayings definitely sum up two of the key messages communicated in The King's Curse.

Although this is the final book in this particular series (as far as I'm aware), I have not read all the other books, and thankfully, this was not a problem. This novel stands alone with no problem, although I am now tempted to go back and read the other books in the series.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Tudor period. It isn't a heavy read, but the characters are well drawn and the story is an absorbing one--even when you thought you knew it all.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 End of the Cousin's War 10 septembre 2014
Par Carole P. Roman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Really well written story of Margaret Pole, ill fated cousin to Henry VIII's mother Elizabeth. Caught in the Cousin's war, or as it is known today as The War of the Roses, Margaret is the daughter of George Duke of Clarence, brother to the king and granddaughter of Warwick the Kingmaker. She and her brother are in line for the throne and seen as rivals by the victorious Henry Tudor. Her brother is imprisoned despite his simple nature, and eventually beheaded to prove to the Spanish that there is no threat to their daughter, Princess Catherine of Aragon's way to the throne, as the wife of Henry and Elizabeth's son Arthur. Confusing, yes, fascinating, without a doubt. Margaret is married off to an unimportant knight, thus leaving her buried and destitute in the country. Gregory takes the story from Margaret's lowest time to her rise under the new monarch Henry the VIII. Despite the fact that Catherine of Aragon's arrival caused the death of her brother, Margaret aligns herself with the princess becoming both friend and confidant. She makes a powerful enemy of Henry's VII 's mother , Margaret Beaufort when she colludes with Catherine, helping her in her quest to marry Henry the VIII. The story weaves through her precarious position in court, where a careless remark or an accident of birth can cause not only a person's downfall, but death. Gregory has a unique way of bringing Tudor England alive, letting us get familiar with the players, whether they were considered key or not. A reader is able to put faces to the names that have haunted history, the information of their existence so dim, their role seemingly unimportant, yet they lived and died for the politics of their country. I liked this book. Margaret Pole was a survivor, a thorny rose in the history of England. Someone who tried to grow under catastrophic circumstances, playing the courtiers game where the outcome of losers meant certain death. This is not a flowery book about living in Tudor England, yet Gregory imbues a real sense of the time, the terror of disease, the horrors of childbirth, a woman's helpless role in society. The King's Curse is allegedly the curse made by Elizabeth the queen in response to the death of her brothers, the princes in the tower. It was in essence the downfall for her own house. In the case of Margaret Pole, the King's horrible curse reflected right back to her, including anyone with Plantagenet blood as well in its carnage.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
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