The Henrician Chronicle: Book One: A Matter of Conscience: The Aragon Years
‘A king must have sons: strong, healthy sons to rule after him.’
On the unexpected death of Arthur, Henry Tudor becomes heir to the throne of England. The intensive education that follows offers Henry a model for future excellence; a model that he is doomed to fail.
On his accession, he chooses his brother’s widow, Catalina of Aragon, to be his queen. Together they plan to reinstate the glory of days of old and fill the royal nursery with boys.
But when their first-born son dies at just a few months old, and subsequent babies are born dead or perish in the womb, the king’s golden dreams are tarnished.
Christendom mocks the virile prince. Caterina’s fertile years are ending yet all he has is one useless living daughter, and a baseborn son.
Henry needs a solution but stubborn to the end, Catalina refuses to step aside.
As their relationship founders, his eye is caught by a woman newly arrived from the French court. Her name is Anne Boleyn.
A Matter of Conscience: the Aragon Years offers a unique first-person account of the ‘monster’ we love to hate and reveals a man on the edge; an amiable man made dangerous by his own impossible expectation.
A Matter of Faith
The Days of the Phoenix
Book Two of The Henrician Chronicle
Finally free of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, is now married to Anne Boleyn and eagerly awaits the birth of his son. In a court still reeling from the royal divorce and growing public resentment against church reform, Henry must negotiate widespread resentment toward Anne. He places all his hopes in a son to cement his Tudor bloodline but his dreams are shattered when Anne is delivered of a daughter.
Burying his disappointment, Henry focuses on getting her with child again but their marriage is volatile and as Henry faces personal bereavement, and discord at court, Anne’s enemies are gathering. When the queen miscarries of a son, and Henry suffers a life-threatening accident, his need for an heir becomes crucial. Waiting in the wings is Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting who offers the king comfort and respite from Anne’s fiery passions.
But, when Anne falls foul of her former ally, Thomas Cromwell, and the king is persuaded that Anne has made him a cuckold, Henry strikes out and the queen falls beneath the executioner’s sword, taking key players in Henry’s household with her.
Jane Seymour, stepping up to replace the fallen queen, quickly becomes pregnant. Delighted with his dull but fertile wife, Henry’s spirits rise even further when the prince is born safely. At last, Henry has all he desires but even as he celebrates, fate is preparing to deliver one more staggering blow.
The once perfect Renaissance prince, is now a damaged middle-aged man, disappointed in those around him but most of all in himself. As the king’s optimism diminishes his intractability increases, and the wounded lion begins to roar.
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A Matter of Time
Henry VIII: the Dying of the Light
Book Three of The Henrician Chronicle
With youth now far behind him, King Henry VIII has only produced one infant son and two bastard daughters. More sons are essential to secure the Tudor line and with his third wife, Jane Seymour dead, Henry hunts for a suitable replacement.
After the break from Rome, trouble is brewing with France and Scotland. Thomas Cromwell arranges a diplomatic marriage with the sister of the Duke of Cleves but when it comes to women, Henry is fastidious, and the new bride does not please him. The increasingly unpredictable king sets his sights instead upon Katherine Howard and instructs Cromwell to free him from the match with Cleves.
Failure to rid the king of his unloved wife could cost Cromwell his head.
Henry, now ailing and ageing, is invigorated by his flighty new bride but despite the favours he heaps upon her, he cannot win Katherine’s heart. A little over a year later, broken by her infidelity, she becomes the second of his wives to die on the scaffold, leaving Henry friendless and alone.
But his stout heart will not surrender and leaving his sixth wife, Katheryn Parr, installed as regent over England, Henry embarks on a final war to win back territories lost to the French more than a century before. Hungry for glory, the king is determined that the name Henry VIII will shine brighter and longer than that of his hero, Henry V.
Told from the king’s perspective, A Matter of Time: Henry VIII: the Dying of the Light shines a torch into the heart and mind of England’s most tyrannical king.