This is a great book to pick up if you’re fan of the infamous Tudor king, no matter what your age. VIII tells the story of Henry from a young prince through to his death and Castor really succeeds in bringing the prince to life, giving emotion and motivation to her carefully crafted character, while staying true to history.
There’s a lot to cover in just one book and inevitably some areas of Henry’s life are glossed over slightly, particularly some of his marriages. However, this is a period of history that has already been explored a lot – what’s fresh about VIII is that much of the book is based on Henry’s childhood and earlier years instead. It’s very much about the boy (and later, the man), himself, rather than the women in his life.
There is a hint of the paranormal in VIII but it works well, Castor is ambiguous enough to leave it up to the reader to decide whether Henry really was haunted, whether his upbringing and religious beliefs led to his visions or whether he was a fragile young man, slowly going crazy.
An engaging story that I’d highly recommend for anyone with a love of history.