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As the author, Alison Weir, makes clear in the introduction, the first third of Henry VIII: The King and His Court is a comprehensive description of the time period. The remaining sections are a chronological retelling of the King’s life, primarily the happenings around his royal court. This is not a retelling of England’s major historical events, the King’s specific policy decisions, or other significant crisis and wars of the period. The book offers rich details about Henry’s estates, palaces, castles, the clothing fashions of the royals, and the social activities of those at court. Apparently a principal source for Showtime's popular series The Tudors, it makes a helpful side companion for sorting out truth from fiction between viewings. The book’s strengths lie in the well researched accounting of the court life, major characters, and the dramatic events taking place within the many palaces that Henry inhabited during his tumultuous reign. The author attempts to dispel many misconceptions about the King, describing a brilliant and highly capable administrator with severe character flaws that led him to reshape his world and tyrannize those around him. Among the book’s faults, a reader may find it overly exhaustive to follow many of the countless names and titles cast about throughout the decades of Henry’s life. It often seems that each person the King met in court was mentioned, sometimes only briefly, often with little explanation of their overall significance or a note as to why they just vanish from the pages as quickly as they appear.