Yep, for the last few years I have been translating a nineteenth-century biography of Henry VIII….and I am finally done! With the first part, anyway.
Published in 1878, The Six Marriages of Henry VIII is like the farsical love child of The Spanish Chronicle and Agnes Strickland, uniting Agnes’ pretense at biography with the Spanish Chronicle’s tendency to “bring some scenes to life.” Oh, and it’s all told with the snark of Charles de Marillac, the French ambassador to Henry’s court during some key years.
Author Jules D’Argis repeats a lot of the over-the-top, no-this-never-happened stories – and invents new ones, many of which are based on the cultural practices he was familiar with and therefore tell us a lot about his own era. In a scene right out of a Bronte novel, D’Argis introduces a fortune teller in Chapter Two to warn Anne Boleyn of the dangers that await her; elsewhere he speaks of the court going to Brighton to enjoy the seashore. Unfortunately, D’Argis also shows us what an antisemitic place France was at the time, in a gratuitous scene showing a jeweler who must remake for Jane Seymour a diamond and ruby necklace once destined for her predecessor. I eliminated the slurs but left the scene in, knowing that he had already proved his poor judgment by that point (he thought Anne had slept with Norris, for goodness’ sake!).
This is not a book for someone who knows nothing about the Tudors. This is not a book for someone who is looking for a reliable biography. This is for the advanced Tudor fans, who will enjoy seeing how England’s historic rival told the stories of the Tudors, especially back then.
It’s not on sale anywhere – it won’t be on sale until later this year. But I will send a free mobi or ePub copy to anyone who pre-orders The Boy King. Just take a screen shot of your order, email it to me at janetwertman [at] yahoo.com and there you go. This won’t be automated so time zones might create a bit of a delay… but I will send it!