When you hear someone mention King Henry VIII, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Six wives, beheadings, Jonathan Rhys Meyers? His is a crazy, fascinating story. VIII by H. M. Castor was first published in the UK in 2011; Simon & Schuster came out with this sexy-cover edition in 2013.
The book lingers on Henry’s teen years, a period of time that is swooshed through in other books on the King. He was handsome, intelligent, and a gifted athlete who loved competition. Too bad for him that he was also the “spare son,” the one who would only be king if his older brother, Arthur, died. Castor imagines what it was like for this teen; watching his father groom Arthur to be king, escorting the Spanish princess who will become Arthur’s wife. The story of Henry’s more famous exploits, such as the parade of wives and the break with the Catholic Church, are included, but sketched out in a condensed fashion. It’s an excellent introduction to the political intrigues and scandals of the time.
Check out this book trailer:
The song is also an import, part of the “British invasion” of pop rock in the 1960s. It’s a bit silly, a recycled Irish pub song that dates from the early twentieth century. The only link between VIII and this song is the title, “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am.” Below is a clip of the impossibly young Herman’s Hermits, singing one of their least favorite hits.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An education in war by Megan K. Stack, and listening to The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, narrated by Alana Kerr.