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About the book
  • Published: 12 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780753551301
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 592

In The Lion's Court

Power, Ambition and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII




A gripping narrative of daily intrigue and power politics at the court of Henry VIII.

Derek Wilson examines a set of relationships which illustrate just how dangerous life was in the court of the Tudor lion. He tells the interlocking stories of six men - all, curiously, called Thomas - whose ambitions and principles brought them face to face with violent death. Thomas Wolsey was an accused traitor on his way to the block when a kinder death intervened. Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, whose convictions and policies could scarcely have been more different, both perished beneath the headman's axe. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, would have met the same end had the king's own death not brought him an eleventh-hour reprieve. Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, though outliving the monarch, perished as a result of that war of ambitions and ideologies which rumbled on after 1547. Wriothesley succumbed to poison of either body or mind in the aftermath of a failed coup. Cranmer went to the stake as a heretic at the insistence of Mary Tudor, who was very much the daughter of the father she hated. In the Lion's Court is an illuminating examination of the careers of the six Thomases, whose lives are described in parallel - their family and social origins, their pathways to the royal Council chamber, their occupancy of the siege perilous, and the tragedies which, one by one, overwhelmed them. By showing how events shaped and were shaped by relationships and personal destinies, Derek Wilson offers a fresh approach to the political narrative of a tumultuous reign.

  • Pub date: 12 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780753551301
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 592

About the Author

Derek Wilson

Derek Wilson, one of our leading biographers and novelists, came to prominence thirty years ago, after graduating from Cambridge, with A Tudor Tapestry: Men, Women and Society in Reformation England. This was followed by several critically acclaimed and bestselling books such as Rothschild:A Story of Wealth and Power, Sweet Robin: Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester, The King and the Gentleman: Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell 1599-1649, In the Lion's Court:Power, Ambition and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII, All the King's Women: Love, Sex and Politics in the Life of Charles II and Hans Holbein. He has also written and presented numerous radio and television programmes.

In 2003, he launched the annual Cambridge festival, which provides a forum for readers, authors and media presenters to share their enthusiasm for historical fact and fiction. More details can be found on his website: www.derekwilson.com

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Praise for In The Lion's Court

“A complex, rich narrative, covering not only Henry's reign but that of his father”

Sunday Times

“He writes with... a breathtaking attention to the kind of personal detail that makes his books such compelling reading”

Alison Weir


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