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I had the opportunity to review this title before it was released in print last year. I jumped at the chance to review the book in AudioBook form, while the 389 pages of text are layered with references, poetry and fact, I wanted the chance to see if hearing the words would be easier or more difficult to affix references and information than the easy flip-back a page or two which can be done with the book in written form.
As with my first review, the book starts with a bang using poetry as it was used in the time of the Tudor court: information sharing, poking fun, setting alliances, all used very much in concert and context with the affairs of the court and courtiers of the day. Narration provided by Paul Fleschner is both mellifluous and crisp, providing nuanced recitations of the poetry that enhances the phrasing and provides structure and emphasis to lines that are further used to elucidate the author’s points as she puts the information into a context.
This really is a wonderful listen for fans of the Tudor Era of England, particularly the years of Henry VIII and his penchant and predilection for lopping off the heads of those who were once close confidantes yet later were to displease him. The use of poetry and repeated or excerpted lines to expand upon a specific point of history or a moment, and showing the changes to that poetry as it is repeated and shared by people with often differing agendas. While there is plenty of the poetic, we are also provided with text from Wyatt’s letters while serving as diplomat: far less rhythmic in pace but still interesting for the construct of what is said, against that left unsaid and filled in by the author’s diligent research and cross referencing.
What is important to note is that Wyatt is a man whose more literary endeavors are not as well-known or referenced as his time in the service to the crown as his alleged status as lover to Anne Boleyn, the story manages to provide an interesting light into the lesser explored perspectives of Henry from a courtier, subject, sometimes friend and often puppet of the king.
Far more smoothly constructed and easy to follow in the earlier chapters, the story does start to become more ponderous as the lyrical and often playful phrasing of the poetry takes a back seat to more ‘official’ information in the form of diplomatic treatises and the often convoluted notations from a man engaged in spying. Overall, this is an engaging story that is only enhanced by the smooth delivery and tone of its narration.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the publisher via AudioBook Jukebox. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility
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