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Books

Books

Forthcoming

THE PRIVATE LIVES OF THE TUDORS: UNCOVERING THE SECRETS OF BRITAIN'S GREATEST  DYNASTY (HODDER & STOUGHTON)

'I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do.' Elizabeth I

The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed. 

These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories. 

It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources that historian Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before. With new insights and discoveries, The Private Life of the Tudors will reveal previously unexamined details about the characters we think we know so well.

 

In Print

thomas cromwell: the hidden story of henry viii's most faithful servant (hodder & stoughton)

Thomas Cromwell's life has made gripping reading for millions through Hilary Mantel's bestselling novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. But who was the real Cromwell? This major new biography examines the life, loves and legacy of the man who changed the shape of England forever.

Born a lowly tavern keeper's son, Cromwell rose swiftly through the ranks to become Henry VIII's right hand man, and one of the most powerful figures in Tudor history. The architect of England's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the dissolution of the monasteries, he oversaw seismic changes in England's history. Influential in securing Henry's controversial divorce from Catherine of Aragon, many believe he was also the ruthless force behind Anne Boleyn's downfall and subsequent execution.

Although for years he has been reviled as a Machiavellian schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power, Thomas Cromwell was also a loving husband, father and guardian, a witty and generous host, and a loyal and devoted servant. With fresh research and new insights into Cromwell's family life, his household and his close relationships, this book tells the true story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant.

the story of the tower of london (merrell)

This book reveals the fascinating stories, dramatic events and colorful characters that make up the Tower of London's remarkably long and varied history. Written from a social perspective, it presents a fresh appraisal of this world-famous site and sets it apart from any other available book. It offers a comprehensive history of the fortress, from its Roman origins right up to the present day. With over 200 color illustrations and a comprehensive and chronological narrative divided into thematic chapters, it conveys brilliantly the many and varied stories which make up the Tower's history from the menagerie and royal mint to the roll call of its famous prisoners. The story of the Tower of London is, in many respects, the story of England. When building work began on the fortress, the capital was little more than a small town with no more than 10,000 inhabitants. Almost 1,000 years later, the fortress still stands as a symbol of royal power, pomp and ceremony, tradition, heritage, military might, treachery and torture. Its myriad roles are reflected in the complex series of buildings that make up this formidable, magnificent fortress an iconic site that still attracts millions of visitors from across the world each year.

Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction (Jonathan Cape & Vintage)

In Belvoir Castle, the heir of one of England's great noble families falls suddenly and dangerously ill. His body is 'tormented' with violent convulsions. Within a few short weeks he will suffer an excruciating death. Soon the whole family will be stricken with the same terrifying symptoms. The second son, the last male of the line, will not survive.  It is said witches are to blame. And so the Earl of Rutland's sons will not be the last to die.

Witches traces the dramatic events which unfolded at one of England's oldest and most spectacular castles four hundred years ago. The case is among those which constitute the European witch craze of the 15th-18th centuries, when suspected witches were burned, hanged, or tortured by the thousand. Like those other cases, it is a tale of superstition, the darkest limits of the human imagination and, ultimately, injustice - a reminder of how paranoia and hysteria can create an environment in which nonconformism spells death. But as Tracy Borman reveals here, it is not quite typical. The most powerful and Machiavellian figure of the Jacobean court had a vested interest in events at Belvoir.He would mastermind a conspiracy that has remained hidden for centuries.

Witches attracted excellent reviews in the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, the Literary Review, the Daily Express and most recently Platform505  Witches is available to order at Random House, amazon and other bookshops.

 

Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror (Jonathan Cape & Vintage)

Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects. Beyond this, however, little is known of her. No contemporary images of her remain, and the chroniclers of her age left us only the faintest clues as to her life. Who was this spectral queen?  In this first major biography, Tracy Borman sifts through the shards of evidence to uncover an extraordinary story. Matilda was loving and pious, possessed strength, ambition and intelligence, and was fiercely independent. All of these attributes gave her unparalleled influence over William. But although Matilda would provide an inspiring template for future indomitable queens, it led to treachery, revolt and the fracturing of a dynasty.  Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror takes us from the courts of Flanders to the opulence of royal life in England. Alive with intrigue, rumour and betrayal, it illuminates for the first time the life of an exceptional, brave and complex queen pivotal to the history of England.

 

Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen (Jonathan Cape & Vintage)

Elizabeth's Women is Tracy's bestselling book to date.  It was published to high acclaim 2009 and was Book of the Week on Radio 4.  The book explores all of the most important women in Elizabeth I's life: from her bewitching mother, Anne Boleyn, to her dangerously obsessive sister, Mary Tudor, and from the rivals to her throne such as Mary, Queen of Scots and the sisters of Lady Jane Grey, to the 'flouting wenches' like Lettice Knollys who stole her closest male favourite. These were the women who shaped the Virgin Queen and it is through their eyes that the real Elizabeth, stripped of her carefully cultivated image, is revealed.
 

 

Henrietta Howard: King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant (Jonathan Cape & Vintage)

Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, was the long-term mistress and confidante of King George II. Described by Swift as a consummate courtier who packed away her 'private virtues… like cloaths in a chest', by Pope as ‘so very reasonable, so unmov'd', and by the world at large as 'the Swiss' (due to her apparent neutrality), she remains as fascinating and perplexing today as she was for her contemporaries.

As well as providing a fascinating insight into the dynamics of the Georgian court, Tracy Borman's wonderful biography reveals a woman who was far more than the mistress to the King: a dedicated patron of the arts; a lively and talented intellectual in her own right; a victim of violence and adultery; a passionate advocate for the rights of women long before the dawn of feminism. Above all, she was a woman of reason in an Age of Reason. The mark that this enigmatic and largely forgotten royal mistress left on the society and culture of early Georgian England was to resonate well beyond the confines of the court, and can still be felt today.