Trade Ed. Harper Audio 2003
CS ISBN 0060513519 $25.95 Four cassettes
Intrigue. False piety. Self-serving legalism. Backstabbing (figurative). Beheadings (literal). David Starkey's history of Henry's wives (and their husband, children, allies, and enemies) chronicles their struggles for power and survival. The means to their ends, more often than not, were machination and connivance. Patricia Hodge relates this account in a knowing tone that seems to say, "Try as they might to put a decent face on things, we know better, don't we, my dear?" We are entertained. A minor criticism: Hodge's "foreign" accents, applied to the words of non-English characters, are cartoonish and an unnecessary distraction. Unnecessary because there's no dialogue here--no true conversation between characters-- and because all quotes are attributed. T.J.W.
(c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: FEB/ MAR 04]