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Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period (Hardback)

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > By Century > 17th Century P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History

By Dr Timothy Venning
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 16 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399054294
Published: 3rd October 2023


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The Tudor period is familiar to British public in reading and viewing in books, TV series and film - list is endless, from Shakespeare and Fletcher in the 1600s to Hilary Mantel et al, and involving internationally famous authors and actors. This is backdrop to the 'Royal Mysteries' which reflect aspects of enduring modern interest. These include royal family drama, sex, scandal, violence, tragedy, murder both judicial and from personal rivalry. The period is dominated and overshadowed by the gigantic and brutal figure of Henry VIII , the 'British Stalin', with his six wives with two got rid of by judicial murder. Royal Mysteries occur throughout the period. The battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 did not end the Wars of the Roses, Henry VII's claim was disputed by Pretenders, and following the unresolved disappearance of the 'Princes in the Tower', Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck with considerable and allegedly Yorkist support. Then came Anne Boleyn, who to many, including modern writers and top historians, a religious reformer, idealist and gifted woman, ruthlessly put down and maligned and executed by the brutal Henry VIII and victim of manipulating figures like Cromwell in a royal court full of 'spin' and 'fake news'. And the stories Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots are similarly packed with mystery and scandal. Elizabeth's possible suitor and potential husband was Robert Dudley and his ailing wife died in suspicious circumstances. And the long saga of Elizabeth and Mary involved Mary's tangled affairs involving murder and conspiracy to replace Elizabeth on the English throne.

Dr. Timothy Venning's Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period is a fascinating book! I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this well written, well researched, informative book about royal mysteries during the Tudor Period. If you love history, this book is for you!

NetGalley, Jamie Lovett

A fantastic book ram packed with age old mysteries from many different eras.

Many well known historic characters feature and some not well known at all!

An interesting and intriguing read.

Well written and easy to follow.

Highly recommend.

NetGalley, Clare Willmott

Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period was a fascinating look at some of histories greatest mysteries, My favorite being the possible murder of Amy Robsart, Tudor history has always been a fascination for me. So I was pleased to read this book in the genre. Highly recommend for amateur detectives and Tudor history buffs.

NetGalley, Ashley Cloninger

Every time I picked up "Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period", I was whisked back in time, and learned something new about the Tudor Era.

The Tudor Era is one of my favorite time period to read and learn about, and as soon as I saw this book, I knew I needed to read it!

I can only imagine the amount of research Dr. Timothy Venning must have done for this non-fiction read. The book is detailed and descriptive, and he delves into his subject matter in an extremely thorough way.

Many mysteries are present throughout this non-fiction read, mostly connected with events surrounding: Henry VII, Lambert Simnel, Perkin Warbeck, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Amy Robsart, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stuart.

I found so much of the information in this book absolutely gripping, and I look forward to doing more research on my own time as well.

If you enjoy anything relating to The Tudors, I highly recommend this book!

NetGalley, Ashley Maimes

There is enough material here to keep Tudor fans enthralled and entertained.

NetGalley, Carol Standish-Leigh

An enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of the Tudor period!

NetGalley, Emma Holbrook

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Tudor era overflowed with intrigues, scandals, and murder that make it a riveting tapestry of historical drama. This book takes a new look at familiar events, challenging what historians really know. For instance:
- Who were Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, the pretenders to Henry VII's throne, and who supported them?
- After a meteoric rise, what lead to the downfall and death of Queen Anne Boleyn?
- Were Elizabeth and her suitor Robert Dudley involved in the death of his wife?
- Did Mary Queen of Scots support the plot to murder her husband, Lord Darnley?

This account seeks to break through the political spin to find the true story. There are no easy answers here, but the book does raise important questions.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

Given its global popularity, it seems hard to believe there is something left to say about the Tudors. As Timothy Venning’s “Royal Mysteries” shows us, however, there are a great many unanswered questions. The book sets the big mysteries out in detail - from the true identities of Henry VII’s troublesome pretenders to the real architect of Anne Boleyn’s downfall to the murder mysteries which rocked the Elizabethan and, in Scotland, Marian courts. This episodic approach ensures something for everyone.
Much interest will doubtless centre on Venning’s presentation of Thomas Cromwell as a Stasi-esque police chief willing to grasp political opportunities when they arose. The solution presented to Anne’s fate here is thus - excuse the pun - arresting, with a devious Cromwell hurriedly amassing a dossier of dubious evidence to rid England of a troublesome queen, and Henry himself having no inkling of affairs until his minister’s shocking stories of Anne’s adulteries broke. Arguably, this discounts the possibility that Henry VIII was simply an actor - and something of a hammy one - who set his minister to work whilst feigning public support for his wife, the better to present himself, ultimately, as the victim of an almost demonically evil woman. Yet this, too, is speculation, and Venning’s version is certainly valid.
As controversial is the presentation of Mary Queen of Scots as perennially impulsive and uncaring of her dignity in the way Elizabeth was: an interpretation which jars a little in the overall tentatively pro-innocence retelling of murky events at her court. However, the reading of Elizabeth as attempting to frustrate her cousin’s marriage - to anyone - is certainly correct. Equally important is the rejection of the “determinist” view of Mary being doomed on arrival in England, with the book’s final mystery - her ultimate downfall - rightfully placed in the context of the then-real possibility of her restoration and/or usurpation of Elizabeth’s throne.
Venning sets each mystery in its historical context and, given the huge historical sweep covered, he doesn’t skimp on names, dates, and social networks. This results in a complex narrative, which might be better suited to those with a grounding in the period. This is not, however, a flaw of the book but a requirement of the premise. For a forensic approach to each mystery, it is necessary to dig deep. This Venning does, exploring every theory, every major player, and every potentially critical relationship and its history.
The book is particularly useful in demonstrating the challenges of early, often conflicting, sources - yet it shows also the constructions - and mountains of speculation - required to make conspiratorial theories work. It is when the period’s wild theories - mysteries within mysteries - are directly engaged with and unpicked that the text really shines. The contemptuous attitude taken to various theories - Baconian and Oxfordian - about Shakespeare’s authorship, particularly as they relate to Queen Elizabeth, is on the money, and sure to find favour with those who take a common-sense approach to the past.
On providing solutions to the big mysteries, Venning is largely equivocal, which is for the best. Those looking for absolute answers might be disappointed, but in truth these are impossible to provide; instead, the book is, in the main, noncommittal and refrains from loftily pronouncing what ‘really happened’ (unless the alternative is silly). As it should, it lays out possibilities and probabilities, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. I’ve no doubt “Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period” will be a welcome addition to the shelves of those fascinated by this age. Interest in the era shows no sign of flagging. In tracing the dynasty in all its puzzling, enigmatic glory, Timothy Venning reminds us why.

Dr Steven Veerapen

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There is so much to consider in this detailed book of Tudor mysteries. It was a scary time of pretenders, creative legal processes, fabricated evidence, and church influences. This book draws you in with trumped up charges and plots leaving even more room for speculation.
An engrossing read.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Love Tudor history and I loved reading more in depth into some of the mysterious events during the Tudor times. The writing kept me engaged. Great for history lovers or for people who love a good non fiction mystery.

NetGalley, Stacy Mawhorter

I enjoyed this book. The author is good at distilling history. I enjoyed reading his take on these mysteries, in particular the ones involving Mary Queen of Scots.

NetGalley, Helenn ie

It was an entertaining and well research book as it talks about intriguing part of the Tudor history.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An excellent book covering an important period In English history. Well researched with many interesting facts.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

Venning thoroughly examines motives and means for various crimes. By giving his own interpretation, it presents a new perspective for some readers.

NetGalley, Whitney Foster

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dr Timothy Venning does a great job in telling all the royal mysteries of the Tudor dynasty. I enjoyed getting to read these mysteries and thought it worked overall. Each mystery was written perfectly and I’m glad I got to read this.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A really interesting read, I love the Tudor era so this was the perfect book for me. It was easy to read and hard to put down,

NetGalley, Gemma Fechner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Tudor era is one of the most researched and wrote about in English history , and for a good reason , the changing world ( and the people of importance ) at that time is what made England what it is today , the homes , the way they delt with things medically , the changing religion etc.
Those of us fascinated with it can now delve deeper by reading this wonderful book.
Very enjoyable.

NetGalley, Angela Thompson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very intriguing and well researched book. The author does a great job providing in-depth information and clearly states the facts rather than conjecture. Any fan of the Tudor era will find this book fascinating!

NetGalley, Lady Julie
Dr Timothy Venning

About Dr Timothy Venning

Timothy Venning obtained his BA, followed by PhD at King's College, University of London, on Cromwell's Foreign Policy and is a gifted historian, deep and critical researcher and attractive writer, with wide range of historical interests. He can slip easily and effectually into early history, the middle ages and to the early modern period with the academic rigour, accessibility, and with both non-specialists, students and academic reference in mind. Publications: Dictionary if National Biography contributions (OUP 1996-2001); Cromwellian Foreign Policy (Palgrave 1995); A Compendium of British Office-Holders Palgrave 2005); A Chronology of the Byzantine Empire (Palgrave 2006); A Chronology of the Roman Empire (Continuum 2010); A Chronology of the Crusades (Routledge 2015); A Chronology of Early Medieval Britain and Europe, AD 450-1066 (Routledge 2017); Anglo-Saxon Kings and Queens; The Kings and Queens of Wales; The Kings and Queens of Scotland; Lords of the Isles; Kingmakers: Lords of the Welsh Marches (Amberley 2011-2016); If Rome Had Survived (Pen and Sword 2010); Alternative History of Britain: The Anglo-Saxon Age; The Hundred Years War; Normans and Plantgenets; The Tudors; The English Civil War; (all Pen and Sword 2013-2014); plus e-books and currently with Pen and Sword: Cromwell's Failed and the Monarchy; The Fall of the British Republic and Return of the King: From Cromwell's Commonwealth to Stuart Monarchy, 1657-1670; The King Arthur Mysteries: Arthur's Britain and Early Medieval World; The Anglo-Saxons and Early Britain; Royal Mysteries of the Medieval Period; Royal Mysteries of the Tudor Period.

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