The Life of Thomas More went straight to #1 on the London Times best seller list when published in the United Kingdom. It remained in that position for over a month, garnering the kind of praise that is rarely given. Thomas More was not only a great man of the church, he was also arguably the most brilliant lawyer the English-speaking world has ever known.More
"When one finishes the book, one has the sense that not only does Ackroyd know all the available facts about More and his milieu, he knows More himself....[A] masterly new biography. It must be a candidate for book of the year." (The Observer)
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Extraordinary cautionary tale
Fantastic novel; passable narration
The subject matter is fascinating, so the author was already off to a good start.
His integrity in his presentation of More as a regular human being, with many faults, makes those remarkable moments of More's life all the more salient.
In the book (not considering the lack-luster narration), the ending of More's life is pithily written. In its brevity and conciseness, it creates makes indelible More's final words to the condemning priest, "[God] could not refuse one who is so blithe to look at Him."
Davidson's narration is, as I mentioned in the title, only passable.
He reads everything in such a dry manner that sometimes I have to wonder if he's paying attention to the words that are coming across the page in his hand. He also misinterprets sentences from time to time.
His reading of the climactic moment—when after having received judgement and before receiving sentence, Sir T. More declares his convictions about the King's title and ulterior motives—is so abysmal that I nearly want to pay the publisher to re-record it.
I'd recommend first watching the movie, "A Man for All Seasons," which is also about Sir Thomas More, before reading this book. The movie will help you appreciate the impact of More's life, and his stellar faithfulness to his inner beliefs.
After that, this book is a fun supplemental read.