Review: King's Fool


King's Fool, by Margaret Campbell Barnes


What better way to celebrate April Fool's Day than a closer look at Margaret Campbell Barnes' novel, King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets?
Yes, I know, ol' Henry the VIII and his surplus of wives has been a bit overdone as of late. But this one was originally published in 1959 and Barnes knew what she was doing here.
The tale is told by Will Somers, a man who had a remarkably well-documented career as the King's fool from early in Henry's reign all the way through to his death. (Sound familiar? Margaret George used a similar idea for her 1986 novel, Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers.)


Henry and Will




The result is a compelling, highly readable portrait of a man who, in his early years, was truly and legitimately concerned with the production of a male heir. He emerges as a man, not the legend: a remarkable and accomplished man who had his fair share of weaknesses and faults.

Intertwined with Henry's story is a compelling look at Will Somers himself. From his humble beginnings as a lowly farmboy of no significance to his incredible rise at court, the King's fool himself is a fascinating character and well worth the read here.

Do you think the cover art depicting a woman missing her head is a coincidence?

Neither do we.

Sourcebooks Landmark (one of our favorite publishers!) is re-releasing this historical fiction staple today, April 1, 2009. If you enjoy Tudor history, you won't be disappointed in this one!


Of course, if you're interested in reading this one, you could always leave A Reader's Respite a comment here and on Monday, April 6th, our blog secretary will draw a random winner!




Title: King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew Their Secrets
Author: Margaret Campbell Barnes
ISBN-13: 978-1402219023
320 pages
Publisher: Sourcemarks Landmark
Date: April 1, 2009


For my research-inclined readers, some more reviews:

Medieval Bookworm
Passages to the Past
Kittling: Books
historical-fiction.com
The Tome Traveller
Giving Reading a Chance

53 comments:

  1. Great review! I like the picture you found too! Ha - and I never made the connection between the release date and the name...funny!

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  2. I'm still waiting to see if the library will decide to purchase it. However, I'll enter the drawing here as well and keep my fingers crossed.

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  3. I have been waiting to read this one since My Lady of Cleves, which I loved. Please enter me.

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  4. I posted my review today too but, you know, the thing about the cover art never occurred to me, although I was thinking the same thing about King's Fool/April Fools this morning. Good call.

    Oh, and you don't need to enter me since I already have the book.

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  5. I would like to go into the draw for this one as long as you don't mind sending overseas.

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  6. Thanks for the review Michele...I would love to be entered in your drawing!

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  7. I've been interested in this one -- I read George's King Fool a few years ago. I bet this is good. I'd love to go in the draw for the book.

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  8. Please inform your secretary of my interest in your drawing! I don't read much of this genre, but now is as good as any to start!

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  9. This is one of Barnes' books that I don't have. Please enter me in the drawing!

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  10. Being an avid Tudor fan, this is one book I have never seen, let alone read. I hpe to put that right. I loved P Gregory's 'The Queen's Fool' where the perspective of the royal court as seen through a commoner is a fascinating one.
    There is a new exhibition of Henry VIII at the Tower of London this summer that I blogged about at http://thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

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  11. What is it about Tudor history anyway? So fascinating, enter me please!

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  12. This sounds great. What a perfect pick for April Fools Day!

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  13. Good review - makes me want to read this book!

    Please count me in - Thanks!
    Cheryl
    megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  14. I have seen so many good reviews of this lately. I want to read it for sure so please have your blog secretary enter me in your giveaway.

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  15. Hey chickie! You've got an award waiting for you at my place!

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  16. Oh! I want this SO bad! I was planning on re-reading my falling apart version of A Brief Gaudy Hour before too much longer and I would love to read one of her other books too!

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  17. Thanks for the link, Michele! No need to enter me :)

    Carey

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  18. Is this an international contest?
    If so then count me in

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  19. I love the spin on this novel. It's an unusual perspective. Sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  20. Will Somers has appeared in a couple of historical fiction books I've read. It will be fun to read more in depth about him. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks.

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  21. Great review. I love the architecture of that period. :D And the stories that abound! Thanks for giving a copy away. I'd love to get my hands on it.

    bethanne at bethannestrasser dot com

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  22. I'm just starting to read more Tudor HF, so thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. Please enter me! I've been looking forward to this book!

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  24. Loved your review. This is one of the books I am missing by this author. Would love to read it. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

    pjhess55@hotmail.com

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  25. Hi! No need to enter me, just popping by to say that I posted this on Win A Book.

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  26. sounds like a good read, I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

    jakewoodworth@gmail.com

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  27. Henry VIII is SO not sexy in his portraits... yikes.

    Please include me in this giveaway.

    gypsyrover21(at)yahoo(dot)ca

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  28. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    debbie
    debdesk9@verizon.net

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  29. Another goodie on my TBR pile that I would LOVE to own.. Please enter me.
    Marie
    marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

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  30. This looks great. I had forgotten about The Autobiography of Henry VIII. I loved it when I read it.

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  31. I've been reading a lot of Tudor historical fiction lately. It's quite good. And I see Will Somers popping up as a background comment quite frequently.

    I'd love to win this book!

    Valorie
    morbidromantic@gmail.com

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  32. This sounds like an interesting story no matter when you draw the winner.

    "on Monday, April 5th, our blog secretary will draw a random winner!"

    Did you mean SUNDAY, the 5th or Monday, the 6TH? :-)

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  33. I loved this one! No need to enter me. I blogged about your giveaway on my blog.

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  34. I would absolutely love a chance to read this book!
    Thank you for the opportunity!

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  35. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

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  36. Wonderful review, and might I say that your blog secretary is looking quite fetching today? ;)

    Thanks for the great giveaway.

    kalea_kane(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  37. This sounds interesting. Thanks!

    mj.coward[at]gmail.com

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  38. Memo to secretary: Please enter following wannabe winner in contest. Thanks! :)

    florida982002[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  39. Wow! This sounds wonderful! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

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  40. I'd love an entry. Will Somers is such a great character choice.

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  41. This sounds like an interesting book - I would love to read it! It would be my first by the author. I haven't read much Tudor fiction but I'm thinking I'm missing out based on others' love for it!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

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  42. This one looks really good! I would love a chance to win.

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  43. Answers:

    1. Yes, of course A Reader's Respite ships internationally!

    2. Ooops, sorry about the date thing. We're addlepated. That's Monday the 6th, of course!

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  44. I can never get enough of Henry VIII! I'd love to win.

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  45. As a history buff, I would love to read this!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)
    hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

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  46. This sounds wonderful - please enter me.

    teabird 17 at yahoo dot com

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  47. I really want to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  48. This sounds intriguing! I would love to read it!

    Lesley

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  49. I am really interested in reading this one. Please put me in te drawing.

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  50. Please enter me. This sounds good. Thanks!

    tiffanyak1986(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  51. I really enjoyed reading both the book and your review! I've linked to you here

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  52. Thanks for the review, I love books about Henry VIII and would enjoy reading this one I'm sure!

    vmlay@artsci.wustl.edu

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Fire away!