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England 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector. They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?

318 pages, Paperback

First published July 26, 2015

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About the author

Tony Riches

19 books440 followers
Tony Riches is a full-time author from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, an area full of inspiration for his writing.

Best known for his Tudor Trilogy, Tony's other international best sellers include 'Mary - Tudor Princess, 'Brandon - Tudor Knight' and 'Katherine - Tudor Duchess'.

In his spare time Tony enjoys sailing and sea kayaking. Visit Tony's website at www.tonyriches.com, Tony Riches Author on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @tonyriches.

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357 (19%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 176 reviews
Profile Image for Leila.
442 reviews209 followers
July 29, 2015
I bought this book immediately I saw it advertised on Amazon Kindle as I didn't know much about the early beginnings of the Tudor dynasty at all. I began it yesterday morning, was fascinated and finished it earlier today. It is an extremely interesting and beautifully written book. Apparently very little is known about Owen Tudor so the novel is contains historical known facts and the rest is a product of Tony's vivid imagination. I loved it's fresh and original approach. The main character Owen Tudor tell the story himself and it is written in the first person. Although that is not my favourite style he does it remarkably well. I learned much about that particular era that I did not previously know. The book begins just after the death of Henry V when Owen Tudor as a young man enters the household of Henry's widow, the beautiful Catherine. The events kept me interested right up to the very last page. His characters are very well drawn with great depth as we meet them all through the eyes of Owen Tudor. I would recommend it highly to anyone interested in that particular period.
Profile Image for Samantha.
Author 16 books347 followers
October 7, 2015
May include spoilers for those not familiar with the history of Owen Tudor.

I enjoyed this look at the man who made the Tudor dynasty a possibility: Owen Tudor. Though he could have lived his life in relative obscurity, he took the bold step of marrying widowed queen Catherine of Valois. This book is brief, but it is still a more comprehensive look at Owen's life than I have previously read.

Instead of only telling the story of Owen and Catherine's romance, the author tells Owen's story. Using a bold present tense, first person narration, Riches places the reader directly into Owen's mind as the turbulence that led to the Wars of the Roses begins in England.

Owen seems uncertain if he is proud of his position in Catherine's household or disappointed that his family has lost their standing, primarily because they are Welsh. Well, that Welsh handsomeness comes in handy in catching the eye of the former queen, who Owen quietly admires for years never dreaming that she may be peeking at him as well. However, Owen is not obsessed with Catherine. Since she is not a logical possibility, he has other relationships and friendships that help make him more than just that servant that married a queen.

Then he does marry the queen. She is frail and already showing signs of the madness that plagued her father and would eventually cause the downfall of her son. Rather than being frustrated or disillusioned with her, Owen patiently comforts and loves Catherine even as she fades away.

After Catherine's death, Owen realizes how much her protection had meant, though she had seemed powerless as a dowager queen. It is not until Henry comes of age and Owen manages to obtain an audience with him that the harassment and imprisonment stops.

The remainder of the story focuses on Owen's relationship with his two oldest sons, Edmund and Jasper. We get a glimpse of the next story in this trilogy as Margaret Beaufort joins the family and gives birth to Owen's grandson, Henry.

The Wars of the Roses are just getting underway when Owen and Jasper are ambushed by a young, vengeful Edward of York at Mortimer's Cross. This is one section of the story that I would have loved to see fleshed out a little bit more. Owen's end and the uncertainty he has about the future are poignant. Not knowing if his son is alive, imprisoned, or free to fight another day, Owen is lead out to meet his final judge.

The story continues with Jasper, and I hope it will be coming out soon!
Profile Image for Emma.
2,433 reviews828 followers
January 9, 2020
I found it hard to cope with the first person present tense of this book. It did have one advantage though, because I got insight into the thoughts, feelings and motivations of Owen Tudor and I didn’t particularly like him. I know this is fiction, but as I learn most of my history from historical fiction and as I assume the author has done her research, I suppose that his portrayal in this book is reasonably accurate. The first 2/3 of this book were interesting, but I felt it lost pace towards the end.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
1,033 reviews81 followers
July 22, 2019
My path to becoming a Anglophile began with Anne Boleyn who became Henry (Tudor) VIII’s second wife. I then started reading British history both before and after Anne Boleyn including histories on Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, but I concentrated mostly on royal history. With that stated, my interest in the Tudors has always been in the forefront. Tony Riches’ Owen, Book 1 of the Tudor Trilogy, seemed a natural for me to read. I am very glad that I have read Owen, and I will begin reading Jasper, Book 2 of the Tudor Trilogy, shortly. “If a little knowledge is dangerous,......” And what knowledge I know about who started the Tudor line, how, when and where is not complete so I decided that I had to find more. The author states that records on Owen Tudor are sketchy, and no likeness has ever been found, but after reading Owen, I feel that definite holes in my knowledge have been filled. It is 1422 and Owen Tudor, a Welsh ‘servant’ arrives at Windsor Castle to be introduced to his new employer, The Dowager Queen of England, Catherine of Valois, aged about 17 years old. Her husband, Henry V of Agincourt ‘fame’, has died and left Queen Catherine a widow with their son, Henry, who has been crowned King of England and France at nine months. Owen and Queen Catherine fall in love and marry, a treasonous act. I am aware of most of this, but their life together, their children, the fact that Queen Catharine’s eldest child becomes Henry VI, and Queen Catharine’s father is the King of Frances, Charles VI or Charles The Mad, - this is new information for me. Also, this French heritage definitely comes into play in more than one way. Fascinating! One last bit of info: ‘The War of the Roses’ (modern term) begins! 4 stars & Book 2 awaits!
Profile Image for Sally Cronin.
Author 22 books147 followers
November 24, 2017
Characters bringing history to life

I loved history at school but it was never taught in depth. Central figures such as Elizabeth I, Queen Mary of Scotland and of course Henry VIII were mentioned, as were major battles or events in their lives. But you never got to know the person behind the crown or those around them in great detail.

I discovered Bernard Cornwell at an early age and have read all his books. And that is why I am delighted to have discovered Tony Riches, who writes his books with the people as the focus, with the events being incorporated into their story, rather than the other way around. This accomplished with not just superb story-telling but by giving Owen Tudor his own voice.

It is 1422 a few years after the Welsh rebellion led by Owen Glendower against Henry IV fails, and his supporters, including his cousins the Tudor family, have also lost lands and titles.

Owen Tudor has been a soldier serving in France, but is now a servant in a privileged position at Windsor castle when the young widow of Henry V, Queen Catherine of Valois arrives with her baby son, Prince Henry later to be King Henry VI. Their first meeting was to be fateful, and during the following years of civil war in England, would lead to the founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Tony Riches takes us through the next 40 years in this first book in the trilogy. It begins as a love story that would change the course of history, but it also provides a clear and engrossing background to the beginning of the hostilities between the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Alliances change rapidly with the English throne as the ultimate prize. What might be dismissed as minor engagements are given the respect they deserve, as integral moves in a chess game that spans decades, and is played adjacent to, and part of the 100 years war between the English monarchy and the French House of Valois.

The characters, even those with a less regal role, are richly drawn and deliver a much enjoyed respite from the destructive and violent events of the time. Sympathy grows for the young royal brides barely in their teens who are traded for land, alliances and truces. The cost of disloyalty is harsh and usually brutally extracted, unless there might be more to gain from clemency.

I would recommend the book as one that brings the cast members of this long drawn out struggle for power into the spotlight. History is a wonderful subject; but can be very dry and indigestible in the wrong hands. That is not the case with the Tudor Trilogy and whilst Tony Riches has created additional fictitious characters and events within the story, they serve to bring the lead cast members to life.

I highly recommend the following two books in the trilogy as well.
Profile Image for Terry Tyler.
Author 29 books568 followers
August 16, 2015
4.5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Review Team

I am deeply fascinated by all things Plantagenet and Tudor, so leapt on this book when it became available on Rosie Amber's review team list. I was particularly eager to read it as Owen Tudor is someone about whom I knew little, apart from his having been Henry VIII's great grandfather. My knowledge of the events leading up to the Wars of the Roses is sketchy, too, so this book was an education as well as a great story.

The novel is perfectly edited and proofread, which was a real treat in these days of dubious standards; I could tell that Mr Riches had spent a great deal of time drafting and redrafting, and the structure of the novel itself is extremely well thought out. The story flows beautifully throughout and is simply written in the present tense, which is always an odd choice but worked well in this case.

At first I was not very taken with Riches' Owen Tudor; he seemed like a bit of a stuffed shirt and I couldn't imagine why he aroused such passion in Juliette the servant girl and Queen Catherine de Valois. I found the prose a little stilted, though not terribly. I much preferred the latter half of the book, after Catherine's death, when it loosened up considerably, Owen's adventurous side came to the fore and I became engrossed. I looked forward to the introduction of characters about whom I know more: Margaret Beaufort (one of my favourite women in history), and Jasper Tudor, who I've always rather fancied; well done, Mr Riches, you portrayed him so well!

That the book is well researched is clear; many domestic details are included, but these are artfully woven into the story, rather than lumped in to show how much the author has mugged up before beginning to write. I did wonder if a reader who knows nothing of this historical period might get a little confused by all the dukes and bishops and their various allegiances, but then it is likely that anyone reading this would already have an interest in the period. There is an author's note at the back to explain which characters come from Riches' imagination and which are from real life.

If you're interested in the Wars of the Roses and the origins of the Tudor dynasty I'd definitely recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

Profile Image for Margaret.
1,183 reviews49 followers
May 21, 2018
Oh how I love reading about people and places in history that I am unfamiliar with! I’ve read during the late 1400’s but don't really know that much regarding the early path of the Tudor’s.

Owen is the first book in Tony Riches’s Tudor Series, other than a few fictional characters he stayed true to history and events. There were lots of changes taking place after the death of King Henry V with his infant son now King of both England and France. Though there isn’t much known about Owen Tudor the author does a great job of filling in the gaps. Told from his point of view made for an enjoyable read, his relationship with Queen Catherine as well as the struggles of court added enough action to keep the story flowing.

I have read enough Tudor books set in King Henry VIII's reign that this one was a refreshing change (Owen is his great grandfather). A chance to learn more about the Tudor line and the added bonus of continuing this series with Jasper and Henry. I love the cover for this book, it sets the tone and setting. Tony Riches's knowledge of the time period shines through. Definitely a series and author I will continue reading.
Profile Image for Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger.
Author 17 books155 followers
December 17, 2018
3.5 stars. I have listened to the audible version of this book. It is a very interesting story and I was happy to learn new things. Where it fell short: The technicalities sometimes created hitches during the reading. There were inconsistencies in descriptions, for example, i. e., Queen Catherine's hair color, or repeated actions in the same scenes. Owens narrative voice also fell a little flat. These are all little things that could be easily fixed. Generally, the story was good. The performance of the audiobook was not tremendously engaging but ok. I had a hard time with the lack of flow at times. The first person narrative in present tense was also sometimes jarring. Again, I do not know if this is because of the audiobook performance, or truly Mr Riches' style. Overall, I would give this author a second chance. He definitely has a talent for storytelling.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
288 reviews2 followers
November 6, 2016
So very boring. How did the author make such interesting people and such exciting times so dull? I dislike present tense narration in general and it didn't serve the narrative here. The transitions from scene to scene weren't clear and smooth, either.

I was disgusted by the descriptions of Margaret Beaufort. She was not a courageous woman at the time described. She was a 12 year old girl who had been sold into marriage for the profit of her family and new her husband. The marriage was consummated and she impregnated at far too young an age, even by the standard of the time, so her husband could access her wealth. The author seemed to be trying to make this ok for his readers by writing about a courageous womanly look in her eye. Total BS.

Owen seemed to forget about his namesake son for most of the book. And he was oddly cool about his other two. All children of the woman he loved so passionately.

Two stars for giving me a framework of Owen's life and kindling an interest in seeking out further books on him.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vielka.
136 reviews40 followers
June 2, 2016
I just finished this great book and was a great time travel. Thank you Tony for this super book, first time a read about Owen Tudor, and I really enjoy learning about this personage. I will read all the Trilogy, I bought Jasper, I will star reading , I can read and learn everything about the Tudor's but I will always remain a Yorkist. But I recommend this great book. Tony really put the reader next to the person you are reading. Thank you Tony for this great adventure and learning

I love every page of this book, I love the way Tony show the reader the history. Thank you Tony Rihes
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,302 reviews27 followers
May 14, 2018
After the Welsh revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, Owen Tudor is taken into the English Court as a servant. He soon finds himself appointed as Keeper of the Wardrobe to the newly widowed Queen Catherine of Valois. In his position, Owen finds himself close to the lonely Queen as he runs the ins and outs of her daily life. He is also very close with the infant King, Henry. Owen is soon asked to spy on the Queen for the appointed Protector of the Realm, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester. With loyalty to the Queen first and foremost, Owen lets Catherine know of the duplicity and becomes one of her most trusted men. As the infant King grows, Queen Catherine's position becomes less stable and Owen stays beside her. Through a secret marriage, children, a sorrowful death and an English uprising, Owen Tudor's lineage will become essential to England's future.

As someone who loves all things Tudor, I did not know much about Owen Tudor except for his parentage of Edmund and Jaspar. Not much historical fact is known about Owen Tudor's life; however, Tony Riches has done a wonderful job filling in. Rich detail of the time period and everyday life in Queen Catherine's household gives background for their romance to take place and for the Tudor lineage to begin. One of the themes throughout the book is Fortune's Wheel. Fortune's Wheel turns many times for Owen throughout his life. I was continuously surprised at his ability to get back on his feet after tragedy or bad luck fell upon him: Owen marries Queen Catherine, but in secret, they are in hiding for many years, have several healthy children, but one birth will take Catherine's life, Owen receive the pardon of the King, but is still imprisoned. Through Owen's eyes I had an honest look at Queen Catherine, a young woman who showed strength and resilience throughout her life but fell to the same illness as her father, Charles VI of France. I was also very interested in Owen and Catherine's third son, Owen, who may or may not have lived. Overall, an exciting and engrossing foundation to the Tudor trilogy.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Paul Bennett.
Author 6 books60 followers
June 1, 2018

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, OWEN is the epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience as he changes the course of English history.

England 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector.

They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?

This is the first historical novel to fully explore the amazing life of Owen Tudor, grandfather of King Henry VII and the great-grandfather of King Henry VIII. Set against a background of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which develops into what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, Owen’s story deserves to be told.

Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy is a new addition to story of the Tudors in the historical fiction tradition of C J Sansom, Conn Iggulden, Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel.


Over the last few years I have read many historical-fiction novels that deal with the various monarchies throughout Britain's long history. It's stunning the amount of turmoil that surrounds whoever occupies the throne. Even such redoubtable rulers like Richard Lionheart, and Henry VIII had to deal with treacherous nobles asserting their claim to the crown. In this tale, the first in The Tudor Trilogy, Owain ap Tudur, a Welsh servant known to the English as Owen Tudor, in an emotionally charged, and fateful twist of fate begets the royal Tudor line.  Now the manner in which that happens is a bit of a spoiler, so, I will not divulge that particular bit of plot. However, that plot line is a good example of how resilient, and resourceful Owen becomes; necessary because of the enmity he causes by his actions.  Owen is a survivor and the author provides ample opportunities for him to succumb to failure or depression.

It is a well researched book with the author gleaning from sparse historical records enough to bring Owen to life in an entertaining and enjoyable fashion. The characters are well rounded, the settings evoke the feeling that the reader is there, and the story is a captivating glimpse at the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. I am certainly going to continue to follow up with Jasper, and Henry; the other books in the series.  4 stars
Profile Image for Rebecca Hill.
Author 1 book45 followers
July 30, 2019
Owen Tudor fathered a new era in England. By marrying the widowed queen of England, he fathered children that would help to shape the future of England. His life was not one of ease, but it was one that took several surprising turns, ending with a bitter end at the end of an executioners axe.

While I am a Ricardian (I know...) I still enjoyed this book, which brought to life the grandfather of the future king of England. It was an engaging and fun read. I highly enjoyed it! Get this one your to-read list NOW!
Profile Image for Christine Cazeneuve.
1,074 reviews17 followers
October 11, 2021

I liked the story but I much prefer a book with more dialogue than narrative, however, that is my particular preference. I would recommend to any Tudor fan.
Profile Image for Janet Wertman.
Author 5 books93 followers
July 20, 2016
This fascinating story has forever changed my view of what constitutes the Tudor era.

I always “kind of” knew the origins story of this dynasty – I knew that Owen Tudor had married Catherine de Valois, but I have to admit I never really quite “got” how that placed Henry Tudor into the English line of succession as it did…Now I understand. And I appreciate.

But enough about me, let me talk about the book. It was amazing. Riches’ first-person narrative and rich characterizations drew me in immediately; his crisp, wonderful writing kept me there until the very end. Riches is originally from Wales; this background not only shows in his vivid descriptions, it manifests in an underlying sensibility and perspective that keeps the reader feeling grounded throughout.

As a Tudor blogger, I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. It was an excellent investment on the author's part...I have now purchased Jasper (the sequel) and I intend to devour the rest of his catalogue!
Profile Image for Sal.
240 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2021
Owen, a Welsh servant, marries the widowed Queen Catherine and their sons Edmund and Jasper help to found the Tudor dynasty. It is a fascinating tale, full of intriguing characters and ending in the turmoil of the Wars of the Roses. So how did the author manage to make it so dull?
The book seems well researched but the author has taken all the known facts and laid out a lifeless narrative with no colour and no character. I know that the facts about Owen Tudor are scant, and I can understand the author's unwillingness to invent too much, but he fails to tell us anything that I couldn't have got from Wikipedia. I got no sense of Owen Tudor's character or motivations, and no sense of the time he was living in. The battle scenes are some of the dullest I've ever read.
Having just finished Toby Clements Kingmaker series, where the characters are rich and the setting so vividly depicted, this felt amateurish in comparison. I would love to continue the story of Jasper Tudor but it won't be through the sequel to this book.
Profile Image for The Cats’ Mother.
2,060 reviews131 followers
September 19, 2016
Most of my knowledge of the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors has come from Philippa Gregory, so it was interesting to read about how the dynasty started, from a male point of view for a change. This begins with Owen, from Welsh nobility but now working in a servant's role, meeting Catherine of Valois, young widow of Henry V. He remains with her household and watches her son, the infant Henry VI, grow up, before ultimately marrying her.
My main gripe is the first person present style, which I loathe, but can ignore when the characters and story are good. This is a nice length and introduces most of the relevant players, and doesn't spend too long on loves scenes or battle scenes. I look forward to the next book about Owen's second son, Jasper, which I've just bought, and will read soon, before I forget who's who.
Profile Image for Christina Rothfusz.
743 reviews15 followers
November 7, 2016
Owen Tudor, a welsh servent becomes the Master of the Queens household and end's up marrying the lonely Queen Catherine of Valois. He becomes the founder of the Tudor dynasty - he's grandson will become Henry VII who invades Brittain and wins the crown at Bosworth field. He's the last Enligsh Monarch to do so.

I enjoyed the story telling and how well researched the book is.

Did feel that the ending was a bit rush. Also - the War of the Roses start, but little is said of the events leading up to the first battles.

That said, I found this a far better telling of the War of the Roses than Phillipa Gregory's series.
Profile Image for Lori  Keeton.
475 reviews106 followers
December 27, 2016
This one started out better than it progressed. I have always loved Tudor history and was excited to read about this mostly unknown man who married the Queen of England & whose sons were the King's half-brothers. Maybe my historical tastes are changing....
3 reviews
January 11, 2016
Very enjoyable can't wait for 2 and 3

I have read several books on the Tudors this was a completely different perspective. Giving a little different look at Lady Margaret .
Profile Image for Heidi Malagisi.
273 reviews12 followers
February 8, 2019
Owen Tudor, the second husband of Catherine of Valois and the father of Edmund and Jasper Tudor. His affair with Catherine changed English history forever, yet not much is known about his past before he met Catherine. Was he married before he met Catherine and after she died? What must have been like for him as the Wars of the Roses began to take hold of England and everything he worked hard for began to fade away. The man who started as a Welsh servant turned step- father to King Henry VI and the grandfather of King Henry VII, the patriarch of the Tudor Dynasty, this is the protagonist in Tony Riches’ book, “Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy”.

Tony Riches explains his fascination with Owen Tudor:

I was born near Pembroke Castle and recently visited the small room where the thirteen- year old Margaret Beaufort gave birth to Henry Tudor. I also stood on the pebble beach at Mill Bay near Milford Haven, imagining how Jasper Tudor would have felt as he approached with Henry and his mercenary army to ride to Bosworth- and change history. These experiences made me wonder about Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who began this fascinating dynasty. I felt a responsibility to research his story in as much detail as possible and try to sort out the myths from the facts. There are huge gaps in the historical records, which only historical fiction can help to fill. As well as there being no surviving record of Owen’s marriage, no reliable image of him exists….I would like to remember Owen , not as a victim of the Wars of the Roses, but as an adventurer, a risk- taker, a man who lived his life to the full and made his mark on the world through his descendants. (Riches, 168).

Tony Riches starts his book with Owen’s entrance into Catherine of Valois’ household as the Keeper of her Wardrobe after the death of her first husband, Henry V. Owen tries to focus on his job, and not on Catherine, but he cannot help it. He loves Catherine and she loves him. They decide to marry in secret and they have 3 boys; Edmund, Jasper, and a third son who joined the church. The happiness that Catherine and Owen had living in the countryside would not last long. Catherine dies shortly after giving birth to a daughter and their secret relationship is revealed. Owen is thrown in jail while his sons Edmund and Jasper are raised to be the step-brothers of King Henry VI.

Eventually, Owen is released and is allowed to live a good life as a commander in France while his sons are given titles and land. Owen helps escort Margaret of Anjou to England to marry Henry VI and he helps walk his daughter in law Margaret Beaufort down the aisle. Unfortunately, the wheel of fortune is always turning and the happiness is soon replaced with tragedy yet again. Edmund Tudor dies shortly before the birth of his son Henry Tudor and the Wars of the Roses tears the country apart. Owen is killed before he could see his family triumph as the new dynasty in England.

This is the story of Owen Tudor. I found Tony Riches’ book “Owen” a thrilling read. I have always been fascinated by the life of Owen Tudor and his sons and Tony Riches was able to write a story that made me want to study more about Owen Tudor and his life. Riches was able to combine the historical facts that we know about Owen with fictitious elements, including two other women that Owen fell in love with and a friend named Nathaniel, into a cohesive and engaging book. I did not want to stop reading this book. This was my first time reading a book by Tony Riches and I loved it. His writing style is engaging and very easy to read. I look forward to reading more books by him in the future. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Owen Tudor and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.
Profile Image for Catherine.
949 reviews28 followers
August 6, 2019
‘Aim high, boy,’ my garrulous longbow tutor once advised me, his voice gruff from too much shouting. ‘It’s not the Welsh way to play safe and wait until you have a clear shot!’
You would never be content as a bargeman, Jasper. .... I expected to find contentment in Beaumaris—but felt life was passing me by. It’s in our blood, our restless quest for knowledge, learning and adventure. - Owen Tudor

Owen is a historical fiction book written by a man from a man's perspective. That is itself make this worth reading, most historical fiction I can name is female. Owen Tudor is one of the most obscure yet important historical figures. His relationship with a Queen gave us the Tudor name that lives on possibly in infamy (he is the great-grandfather of exactly who you think). Jasper, his son, became a Kingmaker not in a political sense but in an oh dear God protect the child during the War of the Roses sense. That sense of duty was instilled in him by his father.

Okay can we take a moment to respect what Catherine and Owen did though. That is one hell of a love match. He could have lost his head, she could have lost all access to her son and ended up in a convent. That relationship took guts. I do love my historical Catherines and Catherine of Valois just jumped up the list (which is still topped by Catherine Parr and Kate Kelly). But I digress

I found this book a little headache-inducing. I likely wouldn't have if I had sat down and read in decent blocks rather than just on my lunch break or if I knew the time period better. I'm best in the Tudor period, know the War of the Roses enough to hold a conversation but before that, I get lost. That time before is when Owen is set. It ends in the early days of the War of the Roses. So alas I got lost a bit, forgot who was who. Where we were and honestly I ended up using Wikipedia to try and make sense of some of it. Not recommended while it makes great fiction British court drama and therefore history is a bit you did what now and wait who are you married to, who are your progeny. And most importantly can I trust you? Or are you going to stab me somewhere important.

I think you do need some background to be able to understand what is going on, who the major players are and the sheer stakes involved in the political games played. The writing isn't the easiest to read but the chapters mark the time well and give you a good idea of what time you are in. Characters that the author created don't feel out of place, their relationships and interactions feel right. Everyone feels alive and vibrant, the risks are made clear and emotions are well delivered. This is a well-written book (despite what I may have said) about a man that so few people know about. The issues I have with Owen are more my failing than those of the book. I am thinking about reading Jasper but not right now, though it does follow on almost immediately. Starting at the same battle that concludes this one in February 1461 avoiding rehashing of history we have already seen.

I would say this is one for the history lovers, I wouldn't suggest it for everyone. But if you like British Royal history try a sample or a section before committing. If you like the start you'll likely like all of it.

A representative gif:

Profile Image for Erika Messer.
176 reviews15 followers
June 7, 2018
First off I am a HUGE Historical Fiction fan, and also a True Tudor buff! So these books had been on my to read list for a while and I was thrilled to get to be on this tour and review them :) I was not aware of Owen Tudor when I started this book - which is great for me because I love to discover new people from the Tudor era and learn about their stories. The book starts as Henry VI is a young infant and his mother Catherine of Valois is alone after Henry V has passed away. Owen is sent to help her with the household and from the very beginning it was clear to me that he had sentiments for the Queen which went further than just being her servant. But of course as with everything in the Tudor era, there is intrigue and there was ALWAYS someone who wanted to rule themselves. I found the characters to be believable and likable, especially Owen because we see him go through a lot of different feelings. He develops a great relationship with a servant woman named Juliette and it's clear he has strong feelings for her, but it's also clear that there is still some part of him that is thinking of the Queen. Things begin to change when Harry starts to grow up and Sir Richard Beaufort who has been "helping" the Queen while spying on her decides to take the heir under his wing and teach him to be a King. The young King is also heir to the throne of France as well as England, and Sir Richard wants him to be crowned legitimately in both countries. As with most, Harry is separated from his mother for a long time and she becomes more and more attached to Owen Tudor. It's amazing because the characters are so complex and we see more of Owen of course, but it's like we can also see the Queen's emotions as we see her become closer and more reliant on Owen. And then they marry and she bears Owen 2 Tudor sons, one of which is Jasper Tudor, the uncle of Henry VII. But can Owen keep his wife safe after they marry in secret and go against the rules of royalty? Especially given the unstable atmosphere in England at the time and the War of the Roses? Well you have to read it to find that out!
I won't spoil everything for you but all in all I was amazed with this book and couldn't stop reading it, I was spellbound by the story of this new character who basically became the procreator of the Tudor dynasty - I mean he is the reason we had Henry VIII and his six wives, the reason we had Elizabeth I, 2 of the greatest monarchs in history and my 2 favorites :) I highly recommend this book if you are a Tudor fan, it really gives a great insight into the life of a man that is not well-known in Tudor history but should be. The characters were complex and well-written so that you can feel their sorrows and share their joys. Truly a great read for any history lover as well as those who are just starting to learn! 5 Stars!
Profile Image for Amy McElroy.
Author 1 book8 followers
January 2, 2020
It is 1422 and Owen Tudor waits to meet Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of Henry V, in the hope of securing a position in her household.
For years Owen works loyally for Catherine knowing he is in love with her and can't believe his luck when the feelings are reciprocated. There's only one problem, Catherine is forbidden to marry without the consent of her son the king who is still a child. The couple risk everything and marry in secret.
In 1437 the secret is out and Dowager Queen Catherine dies, shortly followed by her new born daughter. Realising he will be arrested Owen rides for Wales but is stopped before he can make his escape. After seeking sanctuary in Westminster Abbey until the king reaches his majority, Owen requests permission to leave England to live out his days in Wales. He has no choice but to leave his sons Edmund and Jasper in the keeping of the Abbess of Barking.
Unfortunately Owen made an enemy of some council members and he along with his two companions Nathaniel and Thomas are arrested and escorted to Newgate. After being transferred to Windsor for a year Owen is finally released and in the employment of his friend Nathaniel.
As a free man he can now see his sons and presents them to their half brother King Henry VI.
Awarded the appointment in Normandy as Captain of Regnéville, Owen is responsible for keeping the harbour safe which he manages for five years before surrendering to the French.
On his return to England he finally makes his journey to his homeland, Wales.
With increasing bouts of mental instability for Henry VI, the War of the Roses ensues with York against Lancaster. Owens sons are now grown men, both Earls and Edmund is married to Lady Margaret Beaufort.
Sadly the war causes heartbreak for Owen who at 60 years old is determined to do all he can to protect Catherine's eldest son and support his son Jasper.
I devoured this book! Tony Riches' telling of Owen's story drew me in from the start. Although the book is based on history it does have some fictional characters and I loved Nathaniel and Thomas!
It's so hard to believe Owen and Catherine managed to keep their marriage secret for so many years! The book is a great insight in to the heritage of the Tudor dynasty. Everyone knows who Henry Tudor is and even his uncle Jasper but this shines a light on the parentage of Edmund and Jasper and the life of their father. This was truly a fascinating read and I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the Tudor era. Owen Tudor was such an important part of the beginning of the Tudor dynasty so I am glad to see his life is being brought to the forefront in this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jaffareadstoo.
2,587 reviews
June 1, 2018
In this fictional account of Owen Tudor’s life, and times, the author has brought to vibrant life the story of a man who struggled to find his place in a society which didn’t allow recognition of his strong Welsh heritage, and whose complex relationship with the young Queen would undoubtedly place him in grave danger. When we first meet Owen Tudor, in 1422, all this was well into the future, as he is newly introduced into the Queen’s household as her Keeper of the Wardrobe, a position which will give him some degree of permanence, something which has been sadly lacking since his days as a soldier, having fought in the army of the Queen’s late husband, Henry V, in the French campaigns.

Throughout the whole of the novel, time and place is captured perfectly, and the author has done a commendable job of bringing Owen Tudor alive in the imagination. Most certainly, in this novel, Owen comes across as a fascinating individual, a fine-looking man by all accounts and there’s no doubt that the ladies liked him. I think that he was a certainly a risk taker but he also seems to have been very much a product of his Welsh upbringing, calm and controlled when needed and yet, filled with a passionate zeal for those whom he supported. However, as Owen’s intimate relationship with the widowed Queen develops, so he discovers, to his cost, that being closely involved with someone so near to the English throne brings its own heightened level of danger and conspiracy.

With impeccable research, the author brings the early part of the fifteenth century alive in a very believable and authenic way. The multi-layered conspiracies of Plantagenet rule under the protectorate of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, paints a rich and intense picture of a troubled time, alive with intrigue and filled with a level of danger that we would have difficulty living through today. And yet, there is a wonderful strength of character to Owen Tudor that I felt such a rapport with him, and by the end of the novel, in 1460, I wished that life had, perhaps, been a little kinder to him.

OWEN is a very good account of the origins of the Tudor dynasty and the author has done justice to Owen Tudor, bringing his story and his contribution to history alive in a significant and fascinating way.
Profile Image for Seraphia.
1,766 reviews19 followers
July 1, 2019
Owen by Tony Riches is the first book in his Tudor Trilogy. In this book, we are introduced to Owen Tudor and follow along with his life's journey. The author takes readers on a riveting journey that begins with Owen's introduction to Queen Catherine. Her son has been named King, but he is still just an infant and so cannot truly rule. The author writes a poignant story of how Owen and the dowager Queen fall in love, and the consequences of their choices as two countries simmer on the brink of war.
I was immediately hooked in when I began reading this book. The story moves at a good pace and I appreciate the timeline that the author creates with each of the chapters. We see the passage of the seasons and years with each turn of the page. The young king grows up a bit at a time, but it is soon realized that he must assume his responsibilities. We see the manipulation and underhanded dealings of others throughout. Those who wish to stay in power, or continue to be the one who is in control. I felt bad for Catherine more than once. One man seeks to manipulate her actions, and even Owen himself is guilty of manipulating situations for his own benefit. While he may not have had any monetary ambitions, he still in a couple of moments took advantage.
I like the blending of this story that the author accomplishes. We get the simmering of war all around and I like that we get a glimpse of Joan of Arc as well. It is brief, but this part pulled me more into the storyline. It adds the instability that threatens all those around.
There is some heartbreak in this story more than once, but I don't feel that it detracts in any way. I feel that overall this is a truly well-rounded novel. We get all the dynamics that one would come to expect from a historical fiction novel that is a reflection of the character's life. The women are overall pious, and what one would expect to read from that time period.
I have honestly enjoyed this novel and I am looking forward to reading more of this trilogy and books by this author in the future. While there are some editorial issues in this book, they are not enough to detract from my enjoyment of this novel overall. I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. A fascinating and well-written story.
Profile Image for Linnea Tanner.
Author 9 books252 followers
June 28, 2020
The legacy of King Henry VIII has always fascinated me, but I knew very little about the earlier accounts of the Tudor dynasty. Thus, I selected Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches to learn more about how the Tudor Dynasty was established. The story of Owen, the great-grandfather of Henry VIII, is as fascinating as the tales about the legendary king. Told in the first-person perspective of Owen, the story begins in 1422 when he first meets his new mistress, Queen Catherine of Valois, the young widow of King Henry V. The queen's young son, Harry (Henry VI), is crowned King of England and France. Nobles responsible for the young king's upbringing tightly control the queen's life and her influence on her son. Owen, serving as the Keeper of the Wardrobe, loyally serves and befriends Queen Catherine and gains her trust. Rumors of Catherine's affair with the 2nd Duke of Somerset prompts a parliamentary statute that forbids her to remarry until her son comes of age. Soon after, Catherine and Owen fall in love and secretly marry in the backdrop of political turmoil that ultimately leads to the War of Roses.

Author Tony Riches has masterfully written a poignant love story narrated by Owen in the present tense. The moment-by-moment narrative helps the reader more actively engage with Owen's life journey. The story is rich with vivid descriptions and natural dialogue that highlights Owen's wit and cleverness. Although his childhood has been shattered by the loss of his Welsh noble parents and heritage, Owen becomes the unlikely second husband to Queen Catherine and the father of her children. Their secret love and marriage have tragic consequences in the backdrop of the War of Roses. Yet Owen's firstborn son, Edmund, ultimately becomes the father of King Henry VII, the first monarch in the Tudor Dynasty.

Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy is one of the best historical fiction novels I've read this year. I highly recommend this book to historical fiction readers, particularly those interested in the Tudor Dynasty.
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