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Traitors of the Tower

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  908 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
More than four hundred years ago, seven people - five of them women - were beheaded in the Tower of London. Three had been queens of England. The others were found guilty of treason. Why were such important people put to death?

Alison Weir's gripping book tells their stories: from the former friend betrayed by a man set on being king, to the young girl killed after just nin
Paperback, 75 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Vintage (first published February 14th 2010)
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Brooklyn Tayla
Starting in 1483 with Lord Hastings, ending in 1601 with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, this short presents us with 7 accounts of tragedies among English history. Each short essay was utterly gripping and phenomenal, and I recommend it to all history lovers or anyone who is interested in learning.
Jo Barton
Feb 09, 2010 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing
"A short, sharp shot of royal revenge"

Well, I think this quick read does what it says on the tin....I enjoyed a quick wizz through traitor history. Starting in 1483 and ending in 1601, each section only takes about ten pages. The history is simply yet succinctly explained with enough attention to detail to whet your appetite . Useful as an introduction or an aide memoir.
Nov 03, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
Love a good history book. Short, bloody and straight to the point, British history is so brutal, I love it.
Feb 23, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This was written for World Book Day this year in conjunction with the BBC in an attempt to get more people interested in reading, something I fully support! It's a very short, factual read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I really liked how it was obvious that Weir was really enthusiastic about Lady Jane Grey and Anne Boleyn, they were less a string of facts, dates and accounts as little works of prose. I would really recommend Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir, it's a really fantastic read if you, ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it
Another example of why I love, and what I think is so good with Quick Reads. Above all else thy are an opportunity to read new authors and try out different genres.
I have just been introduced to Alison Weir through this non-fictional account of traitors whose lives ended abruptly in the Tower of London. She is an author and historian whose informed writing does bring history to a wider audience. These brief summaries may indeed whet one's appetite to seek out weightier volumes like "The Princes
This serves as a good introduction for people who aren't already familiar with some of these famous historical stories, but it's also a good reference for those who have heard them before, and you might still learn something new too. Apparently, Margaret Pole did not run around the scaffold with the executioner chasing after her. For some reason, I thought that myth was true.

Although each chapter is understandably short given the length of the whole book, it manages to pack a lot in and presents
Monica Powell
May 31, 2013 Monica Powell rated it really liked it
Delightful and insightful quick read. Alison Weir adds small, interesting tidbits of knowledge about each of the "traitors" in such a way that gives them more humanity... I find that with reading so much fiction on historical figures it's often difficult to extract fact from exaggerated fact or perhaps just fabricated "filler". Alison's greatly researched biographies are brilliant.
Jan 08, 2011 Em rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, factual, 2011
Traitors of the Tower is a quick read, a whistle stop tour of seven famous "traitors" who were beheaded at the Tower of London between 1483 and 1601.

A factual book, Alison Weir provides the low down on the circumstances surrounding the demise of Lord Hastings, Anne Boleyn, Margaret Pole, Katherine Howard, Jane Parker, Jane Grey and Robert Devereux in an accessible, readable style.

Jan 09, 2016 Ruby added it
It was good. I listened on Audible so because there are a lot of dates if I was reading it again I'd probably opt for Kindle or print instead. Interesting insights into Tudor history
Jun 01, 2016 Sani rated it it was amazing
I liked this one a lot, short, well written, it made my heart ache when I read lady Jane and Margaret story, I highly recommend it.
Mar 24, 2017 Rine rated it really liked it
I really love reading about monarchies, I don't really have much affiliation for modern but it's hard not to get caught up in the politics and the maneuvering of historic court. It is THE definition of court politics that I love to read about so much in fiction.

I especially like Alison Weir's writing style and am looking to forward to picking up some of her other work. This is a great introduction.
Dec 29, 2016 Drishi rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, december-2016
DNF at 14/44.
Sep 28, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: spouse-books
“A short, sharp shot of royal revenge” says the banner headline on the back of “Traitors of the Tower” by Alison Weir.

This is a nice little book running to 75 pages. It’s a collection of 7 true life stories about the occupants of The Tower of London, when it was used as a prison, and covers the years 1483 until 1601.

The subjects mentioned in the book are Lord Hastings, a loyal and trusted friend of King Edward IV of England who ruled from 1471 until his death in 1483. Unfortunately due to some p
Phil Syphe
Jul 01, 2014 Phil Syphe rated it really liked it
Alison Weir summarises events that led to seven executions that transpired in the Tower of London between 1483-1601. Those unfortunates covered are:

1. Lord Hastings
2. Queen Anne Boleyn
3. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
4. Queen Katherine Howard
5. Jane Parker, Lady Rochford
6. Lady Jane Grey
7. Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex

Four of the above were sentences to death by Henry VIII, the king notorious for lopping off heads.

Of the seven, Lady Jane Grey, in my view, was the most tragic case, as she
Feb 12, 2017 Ela rated it really liked it
Fairly short but comprehensive essays on seven people who died in the Tower as "traitors". The story of Lady Jane Grey made me cry, as it always does. I intend to read My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand soon and I hope that it will provide a happier ending for this brilliant, brave girl.
Sabrina L.
Jun 10, 2015 Sabrina L. rated it really liked it
As the title says, this was a quick read. It was a very delightful and interesting one at that. It tells the non-fiction story of 7 people who were beheaded in the Tower of London, and does so in such an insightful and descriptive way that it makes the characters easier to understand and relate to. It combines historical fact with story-telling qualities and is bound to keep you interested in the lives of these ''traitors.'' At times it got a little confusing, especially with all of the differen ...more
Jun 14, 2012 lia rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This is a very short book that tell us about people who are beheaded in the tower (not all of them, cause that would be too much - but few of the most famous one).

In this book Alison Weir tell stories of Hastings, friends of Edward IV, and beheaded by Richard III on his coup to gain the throne for himself; Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII; Katherine Howard, another wife of Henry VIII; Margaret Pole Countess of Salisbury, the daughter of Edward IV's brother, but beheaded during Henry VIII's reign
Feb 26, 2011 Charli rated it really liked it
This book is only around 100 pages long, but it's an incredibly intriguing read for anyone with an interest in the Tudor era.

It details the fates of 6 of the most famous Tudor prisoners, sent to the Tower of London for treason; Lady Salisbury, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, Jane Grey, the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Hastings. It's a very concise (if not a little simplistic at times) account of their last days, and their history. As an avid reader of Tudor non-fiction, I found each chapter rive
Sep 28, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing
This a a great little collection of short stories for an amateur historian. Alison Weir gives a quick history of five famous historical characters who were executed by the Tudors and one executed by Richard III. Weir presents a brief but vivid story of the character's upbringing, life at court, the circumstances of their arrest and their last hours spent in the tower before their (in most cases) unjust execution. I would very much recommend reading it before visiting the Tower of London, it will ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Mimi rated it really liked it
I bought this book because the Tudor period has always interested me. It is about seven people who ended up in the Tower of London between 1483 and 1601. It gives a short history about each person and tells of their last days in the Tower. All though mainly set in the Tudor period, one of the people is before that. Most of the stories I know about such as Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. But the others such as the Earl of Essex and Margaret Pole, I knew nothing about. After reading this book I ...more
Helene Harrison
ISBN? - 9780099542285

General Subject/s? - History / Executions / Tudors / Wars of the Roses / Sixteenth Century

Title? - This book is a very short introduction to the most famous executions that happened in the Tower of London.

General Analysis? - A very very very short introduction. It literally just gives the facts as we understand them and doesn't really go into much of the background. Each of these instances could at least by ten times the length, if not more. Good for those with no knowledge
Mar 13, 2012 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Still in the mood for reading non-fiction, so I picked this up to test out whether I like Alison Weir's work. She's written a lot of books about this period, which I'm interested in, so... Anyway, it's a very short book, since it was written for the 'quick reads' series. That's really what hampers it: there's not much by way of analysis, just a simplistic recounting of facts, most of which I knew. I think I found the account of Lady Jane Grey most interesting: Alison Weir sees her with sympathy, ...more
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Louise Fry
Jul 28, 2016 Louise Fry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tudor-books-read
this short read - which it is less than 100 pages , was excellent quick, brief and smart this book had it all. It had enough facts from the seven different traitors that alison weir covered it was clear that some of the traitors she did prefer to talk about such as Anne Boleyn and the other main tudor deaths covered in this however the other sections were still fantastic to read about.
I would recommend this book for the people that are starting to go into history and wanting to know the basic f
Sep 17, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: royal-historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2011 Everybookhasasoul rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This was short read (less than 100 pages), that I read while I was trying to decide what I wanted to read next. It was full of interesting stories of how all seven historical figures were beheaded in the Tower of London.

Alison Weir always writes with such historical accuracy and instantly transports into the period of time that she is writing about.

This was an interesting read that I would recommend to historical fiction fans, when they are in between books.

This review first was published on htt
Devon Harper
Mar 23, 2016 Devon Harper rated it liked it
Lovely quick read that I read in less than two hours. Alison Weir shows once again that she's a well read historian while unlike in her longer works, she does not go into too much detail. I particularly liked reading about Lady Jane Grey and her short reign as it offered quite a different perspective to other accounts that I've read. My one problem with it, other than lack of detail in certain places was that the death of Dereham seems to be somewhat different to how described in many other acco ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenge
Maybe I just knew too much about the subject matter already to really enjoy this book. I knew when I started reading Traitors of the Tower that it was incredibly short, but I feel that it could have been less superficial. I would definitely recommend this book to readers with little to no knowledge of the subjects covered. I've read several of Weir's books and know that she can be a very detailed and in depth writer, this is just more of a cliff notes than anything else, which certainly has it's ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
I read this because I'm a huge fan of Alison Weir, and I've read almost everything she's written so far. It's a good overview the executions that took place at the Tower. It is a quick read, and designed to whet your interest. You can read each of the stories in further detail in her books. This would be a great book for teens to get them interested in history, particularly if they are about to visit The Tower.
It was alright, I liked it well enough despite the fact I'm not overly fond of Alison Weir. A little too sparse for my liking but this isn't a Quick Read for nothing. It's good for someone wanting to dip their toes into the particular time period but for anyone else there's nothing new here that couldn't be found in more entertaining books.

Two and a half stars would probably be more accurate, but seeing as goodreads doesn't allow half stars I rounded it up.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her
More about Alison Weir...

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