The Fifth Queen
Katharine Howard, clever, beautiful and out-spoken, catches the jaded eye of Henry VIII and becomes his fifth Queen.‘The best historical romance of this century’ - The Times Literary Supplement
Corruption and fear pervade the King’s court and the dimly lit corridors vibrate with the intrigues of unscrupulous courtiers hungry for power. Soon Katharine is locked in a vicious battle with Thomas Cromwell, the Lord Privy Seal, as she fights for political and religious change.
Ford saw the past as an integral part of present experience and understanding and his sharply etched vision of the court of Henry VIII echoes aspects of Edwardian England as well as exploring the pervading influence of power, lies, fear and anxiety on people’s lives.
‘A noble conception – the swan song of historical romance’ - Joseph Conrad
'The whole struggle between Katharine and Cromwell for the King seems told in shadows - shadows which flicker with the flames of a log fire, diminish sufddenely as a torch recedes, stand calm awhile in the candlelight of a chapel: a cresset flares and all the shadows leap together. Has a novel ever before been lit as carefully as a stage production?...The Fifth Queen is a magnificent bravura piece' - Graham Greene
'The Fifth Queen...is like Eisenstein's Ivan: slow, intense, pictorial, and operatic. Plot is both its subject and its method. Execution is its upshot and its art...It must be read with the whole mouth - lips, tongue, teeth...For prose, it is the recovery of poetry itself' - William Gass
‘Nobody who cares about fiction can afford to ignore the elaborate, imaginative, mould-breaking writings of Ford Madox Ford … a major literary figure’ - Miranda Seymour, Independent