Today’s book review comes from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com
Cathy chose to read and review Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler
This novel promises to be uniquely different in its concept and delivery. And actually, that promise is fulfilled…in spades. The storyline and characters very artfully parallel the life and times of Henry VIII in a modern day setting.
Handsome and charming, Harry Lanchester makes his first appearance as a sixteen year old wannabe rock star and his story is told initially from the viewpoint of Harry’s best friend, Will. Thereafter we see Harry through the eyes of each of his wives in turn, combined with short chapters from Will, who acts almost as an impartial onlooker and supporter. Even when he disagrees with Harry and suspects him of a terrible act, Will feels unwilling and, possibly, unable to confront his friend.
Harry’s dream of rock stardom was shattered with the death of his elder brother. This tragedy meant Harry was next in line to head the family’s property development company, after the death of his father. Harry steps into, not only his brother’s shoes, but also his fiancée’s heart. He rises to the challenge of running the company, and being married, at such a young age with the complete belief his authority, charm and position would get him the wife, mistress or business deal he wanted.
Each of his wives, whose names were very cleverly adapted, have their own individual take on Harry as a man and husband. Their opinions are balanced by Will’s, coming from the perspective of a life long friend, and reading them all gives very differing viewpoints on the personality and conduct of one man. In doing so they also disclose their own characteristics and weaknesses.
Terry Tyler has, with a compelling and perceptive approach, brought the obviously very well researched historical characters to life in a contemporary guise. They all have depth and a realism that gives rise to the thought that, even through the ages, nothing much changes in human behaviours. Told with wit, humour and no small amount of pathos, the engaging narrative chronicles Harry’s life over almost four decades of decadent living. As Harry’s excesses continue unabated and accelerating, his decline begins in earnest after Keira’s death, the manner of which affects him to ever greater degrees as the years pass.
A fantastic interpretation, extremely well executed, resulting in a fascinating and enjoyable read.