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69+ Works 3,751 Members 75 Reviews

About the Author

John Guy is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and also lectures in the Faculty of History. He became an Honorary Research Professor of the University of St Andrews in 2003.

Includes the names: John A. Guy, John A. Guy, John A. Guy, Guy John A.

Also includes: John Guy (1)

Works by J. A. Guy

Tudor England (1988) 340 copies
Elizabeth: The Later Years (2016) 221 copies
Egyptian Life (1998) 142 copies
Greek Life (1998) 139 copies
Roman Life (1998) 134 copies
The Children of Henry VIII (2013) 128 copies
Viking Life (1998) 109 copies
Henry VIII & His Six Wives (2001) 50 copies
Medieval Life (2001) 38 copies
Tudor & Stuart Life (1656) 35 copies
Victorian Life (2001) 34 copies
Elizabeth I & The Armada (1996) 28 copies
Thomas More (2000) 22 copies
Victoria (2001) 20 copies
30's and 40's Britain (2001) 15 copies
The Tudor Monarchy (1997) — Editor — 12 copies
Elizabeth 2 copies
Castles in Sussex (1984) 2 copies
West Kent from the Air (1987) 2 copies
East Kent from the Air (1987) 1 copy

Associated Works

Tudor Political Culture (1995) — Contributor — 3 copies


Common Knowledge



Thomas Becket - Biography Group Read - Book Discussion in 2015 Category Challenge (June 2015)


Before we begin, I have no mind for what's considered a spoiler and what isn't so, fair warning - POSSIBLE SPOILERS ahead. I also use bad language, so read at your risk.

Let me start by saying that holy shit is this book long. Remind me to never pick up a 500+ page book again, good lord. I thought I would never finish it! I also want to say that I watched the movie first and later found out that there was a book about it so I was excited because I loved the movie. History is not my strongest interest and most are boring to me. I have so many problems in my life, I don't care to read about the problems of my ancestors, but there are a few points in history that, if told right, really interest me. This is one of them.

John Guy did an excellent job of going through fact and fiction to provide the best possible account of Mary's life and the problems she faced. And boy is it a ride.

Even now, after finishing the book, I'm left wondering if Mary was truly a victim or not. I feel like she was a victim of greedy assholes who cared only for their own wants and using her a simple stepping stone despite being a goddamn queen. How could this shit happen to her? She's a QUEEN, is that not the highest role possible? How could they get away with so much shit against her without even facing consequences for it? I felt so annoyed and angry while I read this book and I truly hope that the rebel lords and that dickbag Cecil are burning in hell for their treachery.

I feel like I didn't fully understand this book for two reasons:
1. I don't understand how ANYONE understood what people were saying back then. When he included inserts of what they wrote, I had to read it several times before my brain could process the words as they were written.
2. So many words I've never heard of or couldn't pronounce. If I had written down each one to look up and try to learn the meaning of, I think I would have had a book of my own lol John Guy is much smarter than I am.

I really can't stand the rebel lords. They are power-hungry bastards and THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT. That's what pisses me off the most. And Cecil, I fucking HATE Cecil and to think that he had a wonderful life after Mary's execution frustrates me to no fucking end. And And HER SON. Like, what the fuck, kid? It's not her fault you never got to know her, SHE WAS FECKIN' IMPRISONED HALF HER LIFE. For him to completely denounce her, I.... I am getting way too heated over this.

Elizabeth wasn't innocent either. She refused to meet with Mary because she was a fucking coward. She IMPRISONED her because she was naive enough to think that her beloved cousin would actually help her and then she was shocked when Mary "accepted" a plot for her assassination. Anyone that trusted her and then got imprisoned for half their feckin' life for it would eventually grow desperate enough to agree to an assassination to find their freedom. And then she wanted her murdered in the middle of the night without claiming responsibility! The most cowardly queen in the entire world. What a bitch.

And who is she to dictate who Mary can and can't marry?? It isn't her life and they are BOTH queens on equal footing, she has no fucking right. Elizabeth clearly thought she was higher in status than she was. Pathetic.

Mary wasn't innocent, either, though. She trusted time and time again even after being betrayed. She made questionable choices on several occassions, as well. Still, she got royally fucked over by all fronts. From the time she was a child, she was being targeted. Cecil had a serious hard on for her, it's fucking disgusting.

It just goes to show how terrible human beings are. Even family will betray you in a second if they think they can get something out of it. Mary's biggest flaw was that she was far too trusting, too loving for this world. Everyone she knew, that she trusted, betrayed her except for her own mother and the leader of the four Maries. Just shows me that my hatred of human beings is just.

Kids growing up always want to be princesses and princes, kings and queens, but they never realize that in being so, you become a target for everyone. Humans covet power above all else and they will do anything to get it, even if they have to destroy their own family. Mary's story is proof of this.

Wherever her soul may be today, I hope she finds peace.

Another thing I'd like to mention - fuck religion. That's one of the main reasons there was so much turmoil. "My religion is the only religion." "My religion is right, fuck your religion." It's so fucking stupid. What does one person believing something have to do with you? In my opinion, Cecil was so insecure in his own religion and in himself that he was TERRIFIED that Mary's religion would overcome his own and it's stupid. Who cares what someone else believes? Live your own damn life and stop worrying so much about what other people are doing. If you truly believe that your religion is true and just, you don't give a fuck what other people are doing with their own beliefs (unless it's something like killing others who don't believe the same as you, then you should care.) To me, that just proves have pathetic Cecil was. Can you tell I hate him? If not, well... I hate him.

I don't think I've ever gotten so emotionally involved in a historic story before but jesus I hate how this played out. So frustrating!

This book is super detailed and it's obvious that the author put in a lot of effort to get all the facts and to find the proof to tie everything together. He did a great job and, while it was hard for me to read because of it's length, I'm glad I did and I think he deserves praise for this.

Also, fuck Cecil.
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AnnoyingTiger888 | 8 other reviews | Feb 20, 2024 |
Interesting and well written. The author seems to have an objective point of view, which allows the reader to see the personalities and humanity of those involved. Another layer added to my understanding of this period of history.
MrsLee | 12 other reviews | Oct 27, 2023 |
The life of Anne Boleyn life was utterly remarkable, but it was not destined to be so. Initially the future queen seemed set for a conventional life as an upper class lady-about-court who might expect to marry into the nobility. What made the difference in Anne’s case was the time she spent in France at the court of Queen Claude. Arriving in 1515, Anne stayed at the French court for seven years. Whether or not Anne’s experiences in France made her particularly attractive to the men at the Henrician court on her return, we can only speculate. We have no evidence of what she did in France. Acknowledging that French court culture was richer than its English equivalent is about as far as we can go. What we do know is that Anne returned to England in 1521 and that sometime around 1525-26 – scholars have offered ingenious, but uncompelling, arguments for the precise dates – Henry fell passionately in love with her, as his letters show. Not only did she become his only mistress, Henry was prepared to break with Rome to secure her as his legitimate wife and queen.

That all makes for a substantial – and very well known – tale, but there was of course more. Three years after the break with Rome, Anne Boleyn and her alleged lovers (one of whom was her own brother, George, Lord Rochford) were accused and convicted of treason, adulteries and incest. It was a truly astonishing turn of events. One might say you could not make it up, but for the fact that many have suggested that either Henry, or his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, did just that.

With a story this well known, and argued about for centuries, how should the modern historian approach Anne’s extraordinary life? In his 1986 biography, Eric Ives presented Anne as a leading player among factional rivalries. In my own Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions (2012), I adopted a forensic approach, comparable to that of a judge probing and then giving his verdict. The method chosen by John Guy and Julia Fox in this fine new study is to focus on narrative, adopting a biographical approach in which Anne’s story hurtles relentlessly forward towards her tragic end. The book is executed with consummate skill. As an exercise in storytelling, it is a formidable achievement.

Read the rest of the review at HistoryToday.com.

George W. Bernard is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton. His latest book is Who Ruled Tudor England: Paradoxes of Power (Bloomsbury, 2021).
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HistoryToday | Oct 24, 2023 |
Beautifully written and researched at times this excellent book reads like fiction, and brings new light to my knowledge of Elizabeth. Full of intrigue and suspicion. How the Author keeps track of the numerous never ending cast of characters over four hundred pages is beyond me.
A few weeks before I chose to read this book from my ever expanding to be read pile of books, I watched the BBC's Elizabeth R tv series featuring the incomparable Glenda Jackson, and there were numerous references that I recalled as if this was the screenplay.
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Gudasnu | 3 other reviews | Sep 13, 2023 |



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