The King's Curse

Version: Unabridged
Author: Philippa Gregory
Narrator: Bianca Amato
Genres: Romance, Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: September 2014
# of Units: 20 CDs
Length: 27 hours, 20 minutes
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Lady Margaret Pole is a Plantagenet by birth and therefore an enemy to the house of Tudor when Henry Tudor wins the throne. Margaret's husband tries to distance her from Henry's court, but after Lord Pole's death, she is summoned back to court to serve Prince Arthur and his new wife, Katherine. After Arthur dies, Katherine marries his younger brother, Henry VIII. This draws Lady Margaret into a long and difficult balancing act while Henry VIII spirals out of control--divorcing Katherine, declaring himself head of the Church of England and therefore divine, disposing of his wives when they fail to produce sons, ignoring the rule of law, and allowing Thomas Cromwell to arrest, torture, and execute anyone for any reason. Eventually, Margaret becomes a target when her son accuses her of treason to secure his own life. Gregory has written this story before ("The White Princess") from other points of view. Here she once again has captured the era's tragedies and terrors and the political ups and downs of the royal court. Reader Bianca Amado brings Lady Margaret to life and to death with skill and sympathy. VERDICT Recommended to listeners of Gregory's previous work and of historical fiction. ["Gregory offers a fresh perspective on well-known British history. This gripping and detailed chronicle, with plenty of court intrigue and politics to spice up the action, will be sure to please any historical fiction fan," read the review of the Touchstone hc, "LJ" 8/14; see a Q&A with Amato on page TK.]--Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Reviews (10)

Antoher good one

Written by Kathie on February 6th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I enjoy Philippa Gregory\'s historical novels and this was another good one. She keeps the timeline accurate and weaves interesting characters into the story line. I especially like that her books are written from a woman\'s perspective.


Written by Carmel S. on October 6th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Excellent, this is Gregory doing what she does best. I haven't liked her more recent books but this is a shining example of her work when it's good. This novel wraps up the stories of several key characters from the Tudor books. Very well done. Amato is perfect as usual.

Written by Jodie L. on July 31st, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The Kings Curse is by far my favourite novel in this series. I’m a huge fan of Lady Margaret Pole. She is a woman of such strength, dignity and loyalty who’s life showed how the wheel of fortune can raise one so high and throw them so low. But no matter what happened in her life, she always retained her strength and her loyalty to her family. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for her son Geoffrey... It’s a beautiful, tragic story told so well that you literally feel as though your “in” the story. I could smell the scents of 1500’s England, see the richly decorated castles and see the exquisitely dressed royalty. I could hear their words echo from a time long ago. I love this book. I love it so much I’ve listened to it three times over the last few years. For any historical fiction fans, this is a must read. The story itself is captivating and is told in a way that you’ll have a hard time putting it down. King Henry turned into a vicious, evil and unpredictable man as the years went on, abandoning his first wife for Anne Boleyn, then resorting to beheading wives was awful enough. Not to mention the countless murders of innocent people who’d dared to speak out against the injustices King Henry inflicted upon his people. The murder of an old lady, a woman who had raised his own daughter Princess Mary (who also suffered greatly at the hands of her father) like her own daughter and so much more, was the absolute worst thing he could have done. He could have chosen to let her live her life quietly, being in her 60’s and having already murdered her sons, but instead he had her beheaded by a clumsy, stupid youth who botched the execution. She deserved so much better then that. Even after Henry died the bloodletting didn’t cease. Mary, poor little Mary, in this story, a sympathetic character, becomes “Bloody Mary” taking out her life of grief, loss and heartbreak on the country and burning people at the stake. And when Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn’s daughter, became Queen she was the least vicious of the Tudor’s but wasn’t without malice herself. Her cousin Margaret locked up her whole life out of fear and her other cousin Mary Queen of Scots beheaded. Fearfulness and paranoia seem to be common and dangerous Tudor traits. But the curse of the old York Queens, if there was one (and I believe there was) worked and their house ended and so did the Tudors. But their legacy lives on, that 500 years later we still are enthralled with them speaks volumes. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do!

The King's Curse

Written by nab6215 from Altoona, PA on April 22nd, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Besides being an excellent read, "The King's Curse" fills in the details on the supporting cast of King Henry VIII. This story about Lady Margaret Pole touches many royals of the time. I'm watching Showtime's Tudors and am hoping it will help. Also of note at the end of the book, Philippa Greggory mentions Kell antigen, McLeod syndrome for the deaths of King Henry VIII's children as well as his own changing behavior. I wish his remains would be exhumed so we would know.


Written by Kelli on January 19th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I so enjoy Phillipa Gregory's books, and this book was no exception. Riveting and well narrated, I loved every second of it!

Written by Sherry Behrends on December 23rd, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Well written and researched. Thank you Ms. Gregory for reminding me that our modern time period is not the only "troubled times ".

Written by Margaret Lunn on September 12th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent story..very well written...and true Such cruelty in those days

Written by Valentyna Dergachova on July 17th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A little bit long but so exiciting novel! I loved it.

Written by Patricia Heinzmann on June 28th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Wonderful! This whole series has been incredible!

Written by Lenika Banks on September 27th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Unbelievable story, truly an incredible read! Best of the series!

Author Details

Author Details

Gregory, Philippa

Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC radio. Philippa obtained a BA degree in history at the University of Sussex in Brighton, and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature.

Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant world-wide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer. Her knowledge of gothic eighteenth century novels led to the world-wide success of Wideacre, which was followed by a haunting sequel: The Favored Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in feminist book fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the year at the same time – one of the many instances of Philippa’s work appealing to very different readers. Touchstone-Fireside reissued the trilogy in 2003.

In her later novels, Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with painstaking research and passionate verve. The flowering of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway best-seller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. The Other Boleyn Girl is becoming a classic historical novel, winning the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002, and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and a film is now in production starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Scarlett Johansen as Mary Boleyn, and Eric Bana as Henry.

Other Tudor novels followed The Other Boleyn Girl: The Queen's Fool taking a sympathetic look at Mary Tudor through the eyes of a real-life character, a female fool, was a Top Twenty bestseller for twenty weeks in the UK, and has been bought in the US for a four-part television drama special. The Virgin's Lover, telling the story of Elizabeth 1st love affair with Robert Dudley, and the little known story of his wife, was simultaneously in the Top Twenty bestseller lists in both UK and USA whilst being Number One on the New Zealand bestseller list. It reached the Top Ten in paperback. Her third Tudor novel: The Constant Princess, which tells the dramatic life story of Katherine of Aragon, as a princess raised in the Moorish Palace of the Alhambra who achieves her life ambition of becoming Queen of England, stayed in the Top Twenty for thirteen weeks and in the Top Ten for four weeks in the UK.

Two of Gregory’s best-loved novels: Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth are based on the true-life story of father and son John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English civil war.

Her most recent novel now out in paperback, The Boleyn Inheritance (Touchstone Books, August 2007), will delight her millions of readers world-wide. It tells the stories of three extraordinary women: Jane Boleyn, the widow of Anne Boleyn’s brother George, Anne of Cleves, the young woman who was brought to England by Henry VIII to be his bride, and then spitefully rejected by him, in favor of Katherine Howard the girl, almost a child, whom he adored and then killed. As the three women tell their stories in their own words the paranoid court of the ageing King comes to life on the page.

Philippa's novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol produced a haunting novel of slave trading and its terrible human cost. This is the only modern novel to explore the tragedies of slavery in England itself, and features a group of kidnapped African people trying to find their freedom in the elegant houses of 18th century Clifton. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission of Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay. Touchstone-Fireside will release A Respectable Trade in February 2007.

Philippa makes regular contributions to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews. A frequent broadcaster, she is a regular member on Round Britain Quiz, Quote Unquote, and is the Tudor expert for television Channel 4's Time Team and presents historical programs for BBC, most recently an exploration into eighteenth century African slavery in the North East of England. She was the primary judge for the Whitbread novel of the Year prize.

In her spare time, Philippa runs an extraordinary charity, founded by her and a Gambian schoolmaster, Ismaila Sisay. Gardens for The Gambia digs wells for schools and communities in The Gambia financed by money raised and donated by Philippa herself. The charity is the biggest well-builder in The Gambia and is creating market gardens in this, the poorest nation in Africa at the rate of two a week at present. Philippa and Ismaila have created more than sixty wells so far.

Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in the North of England. She welcomes visitors to her website where there is a readers group, historical background material to the novels, her travel writing, journalism, and updated reports on Gardens for The Gambia.