Tuesday, May 01, 2007

of the blood

I think i might have mentioned once or twice that i am a tudorphile. As such, i have read (and own) many of Alison Weir’s excellent histories. So i was rather excited to hear of her debut novel Innocent Traitor (which may sound like a Nora Roberts title but is actually the story of the rather tragic nine day reign of Lady Jane Grey). The story is told from multiple points of view from various members of the Tudor court (the prologue, told from Jane's point of view, waiting in the Tower of London for her pardon from Queen Mary tells how

"in my tormented reverie I hear voices, clamoring to be heard, all speaking at once. I know them all. They have all played a part in shaping my destiny."

she goes over, in her head~although she is exhausted and all she wants to do is sleep~i can definitely relate to that~for the thousandth time how she came to be there), beginning with Jane's birth up to her execution.

It is so interesting, how, even when you know the story well, it can still move you to tears when it is well told, as it is here in Weir's expert hands. Weir is an accomplished and much respected historian, her accuracy is not in question, but she writes in her afterword about how freeing it is to be able to speculate on the psychology and inner workings of the players in this very real drama (it's also interesting to note that some of the most unbelievable pieces of the story are the ones that are of undisputed fact). This story is not only about Jane, but about the life and death intrigue of the day to day life of the Tudor court~and many of the voices in this novel often wish to be commoners rather than players on the royal, and very public stage (although i've always said IF i HAD to live in that place and time the only person i would want to be would be Anne of Cleves, because, though she was said to be ugly {which i'm not entirely convinced of} and smell bad), she had the most freedom of all {once her marriage was annulled}).

To be of the blood, by the by, means to be of the royal blood, which also, i am convinced carries with it a high possibility of inheriting the migraine gene (Henry, Mary, Elizabeth, and Jane also suffered from them...hmm, perhaps i am of the royal Tudor line after all...). But i also relate it to the blood soaked politics that goes along with playing that game. Family and Politics. Sex and Politics. Religion and Politics (in this case though, it is not Christianity versus anything else, or whose God is God, but which Christianity is the True Faith, and as always people must shed blood over it). All of it is here. This is a great read (though i must admit to being a slightly partial to the story between Jane and Guildford Dudley depicted in Lady Jane~i know, i know call me a romantic if you must...

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