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Publisher's Summary

Alison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times best-selling Six Tudor Queens series, relates one of the most tragic stories in English history: Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII's fifth queen.

A naive young woman at the mercy of her ambitious family. At just 19, Katheryn Howard is quick to trust and fall in love. She comes to court. She sings, she dances. She captures the heart of the king. Henry declares she is his rose without a thorn. But Katheryn has a past of which he knows nothing. It comes back increasingly to haunt her. For those who share her secrets are waiting in the shadows, whispering words of love...and blackmail. 

Katheryn Howard.

The fifth of Henry's queens.

Her story.

Acclaimed, best-selling historian Alison Weir draws on extensive research to recount one of the most tragic tales in English history - that of a lively, sweet but neglected girl, used by powerful men for their own gain. 

History tells us she died too soon.

This mesmerising novel brings her to life.

©2020 Alison Weir (P)2020 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction." (The Times)

"With characteristic verve and stunning period detail, this novel will captivate you and break your heart. Utterly sublime." (Tracy Borman)

"Conveys the heart-rending pathos of a young woman executed, whose only real crime was her naïveté and her desire to be loved. It is a profoundly moving story that lingers long after the last page is turned." (Elizabeth Freemantle)

What listeners say about Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, the Tainted Queen

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  • S.J
  • 27-08-2020

A great addition to the series

This book started a little slow for me, but as the drama escalated, I got hooked in further and further. The tedious house of cards kept building the tension, making you feel stressed as a reader, knowing the consequence that would follow. The naivety of Katheryn makes you as a reader frustrated at times, but adds to the experience of the novel. Unlike Anne Boleyn, I knew little of Katheryn Howard prior to reading this book. I will now read other books to pick out the facts from the fiction to feed my new found curiosity surrounding the life of Katheryn Howard.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-2020

Amazing

Been waiting for this for months and so glad I finally got to listen to it.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Tanya I am very upset to tell you that I have not received these items as yet...Therefore I can not comment on them... I have friends waiting for their Christmas gifts still...  Dissatisfied  is all I can say!!!!
  • Tanya I am very upset to tell you that I have not received these items as yet...Therefore I can not comment on them... I have friends waiting for their Christmas gifts still... Dissatisfied is all I can say!!!!
  • 07-08-2020

Loved it

Narrator amazing, I have all good to say about this book... Well worth the wait..

2 people found this helpful

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  • bryan judge
  • 09-09-2020

Such a good book

This is such a good book, so well written and narrated . I’ve read all 5 of this series and the quality has remained high throughout. Very much looking forward to the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • struggling
  • 31-08-2020

Would have been better if shortened

Katheryn Howard was chiefly known for having had relationships with two men at her grandmother's establishment before Katheryn went to court and supplanted Anna of Kleves. While married to the King, she fell in love with her cousin, Thomas Culpeper. The King found out and Katheryn was tried and executed as were Culpeper, Dereham (her former lover before she went to court, and Lady Rochford who aided Katheryn's and Culpeper's night-time meetings. Sixteen hours is a long time over which to stretch out such material. For much of the latter half of the book, the King and Katheryn are on progress around England. So a great deal of space is taken up describing Katheryn and Culpeper's late-night trysts in various castles, palaces and great houses. After the first two or three this becomes rather tedious. However, it's not all lovey-dovey stuff. There's the (by now) familiar episode in which the protagonist sees a ghostly presence (at Fotheringhay this time). Then the King finds out and once again fails to find the virtue of forgiveness for those who have wronged him. Exeunt several characters, headless if they were lucky, minus several more body parts if they weren't. The reading and characterisation is unremarkable, although Sophie Roberts isn't very good at trying to sound like a man. My basic criticism of the book however is that it contains too much padding and not enough story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Caroline Barnes
  • 20-08-2020

Excellent book but weak beginning

Having read all the books so far in this series It took a while me to get into this one and felt that the beginning was surprisingly weak. I’d almost go as far as saying it should have been re written. The writer noticeably gets into her flow of writing and what follows is all you would expect.Excellent. Sophie Roberts is perfect as narrator and easy to listen too ,this added to an enjoyable listen and what began as a disappointing start was soon left behind. I would highly recommend this book just don’t be put off by the first chapters.

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  • Clare
  • 30-11-2020

Addictive listening

Thoroughly enjoyed, but did not like the narrator. Monotone and lacking animation and performance. Sounded like a very dull Teacher, droning on.

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  • Vicky
  • 06-11-2020

love it

very good for long days on your own working , very good story interesting

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  • Charlotte HB
  • 05-11-2020

disappointing

I found this book disappointing having enjoyed the previous books in the series. I rate it a three star review as it was okay but not one I shall listen to again. I know the story of Katherine Howard but found that this version lacked and depth and most of it was bulked out with encounters with her lovers which were, after the first few, long and unnecessary. its a shame as I was looking forward to a more interesting and in depth look into the Real person rather than the silly loose girl she was always portrayed to be. surely there is more to her than this!? unfortunately this novel didn't help tk add anything to that. I also found the narration rather unusual and sounded like she was reading off a script rather any particular feeling or emotion put into the performance.

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  • S. Morris
  • 16-10-2020

A Little Disappointing

I have read all the amazing Six Queens series so far and was keeping my eye out for this fifth in the series with eager anticipation. So, when I stumbled upon this when actively doing a search one day on Audible (NOTE: Audible, if you read these reviews, then PLEASE add a feature for members to tag a series or author we have an interest in so that we can be notified immediately of a new release). I have to agree with other reviewers here regarding the first half of the book being rather less interesting. This book is one of two distinct halves and it's the second part which is far more interesting and, in my opinion, much better written by Weir. I get the sense that when there is little to go on in terms of historical detail, Weir is less flowing in her writing. Not being an historian myself, I cannot say just how much we know about Katheryn Howard's early life. We know certain key details, but how much beyond that. Perhaps that is the problem here. If Weir has had to fill in much more than usual in order to more heavily fictionalize Katheryn's early life, then this is perhaps where she is weaker in terms of compelling writing. To be fair, I can't say for sure, I am speculating as I know very little of the actual known history prior to the key events of the various queens covered in this series. I thought, for example, that Weir did much better with Jane Seymour and Anna of Cleaves in terms of their early back stories. How much more we knew about those back stories in reality may or may not be part of the reason why, I don't know. All I do know is that those two prior books were far more interesting in that regard for me. However, Weir returns to her usual fine form when Katheryn is thrust into court life and therefore far more within the bounds of historically known facts. Once we shift into that phase of the story, then things really become far more interesting. What never ceases to amaze me about that period, is how many people are willing to take such reckless risks despite knowing full well the awful punishment that awaited them if caught. Why they'd risk such blatant misdeeds is beyond me! Katheryn knew her cousin, Anne Boleyn, lost her head due to adultery, real or imagined, and yet she went down the same path! Anyway, Weir shines in the latter and tragic stages of this story as she manages to portray the abject terror Katheryn faced in her final days. The hope against hope that her life would be spared was written so well and very poignantly. Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen is sadly not the best of the series I'm afraid. It isn't a bad story, but it doesn't shine like others in the series do.

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