Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn” as Want to Read:
The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  10,420 ratings  ·  696 reviews
Nearly five hundred years after her violent death, Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII, remains one of the world's most fascinating, controversial, and tragic heroines. Now acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir has drawn on myriad sources from the Tudor era to give us the first book that examines, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling ...more
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published October 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lady in the Tower, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Monica (crazy_4_books) the Six Tudor Queens is historical fiction, which takes historical events and dramatizes them like a fictional novel. This book is pure fact, non…morethe Six Tudor Queens is historical fiction, which takes historical events and dramatizes them like a fictional novel. This book is pure fact, non fiction(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,420 ratings  ·  696 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Part of the Review In Which the Reviewer Rambles About Herself and Not the Book She's Reviewing:
Lately, I like to insist that "I liked the Tudors before they were cool!" (yes, I am a history hipster.) This isn't true, of course; people have been fascinated by the Tudors since the Victorian Age. But it is true that I was obsessed with this messed-up family long before Philippa Gregory jumped on the bandwagon. Karen Cushman was my gateway author into historic fiction in 4th grade, and it must
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alison Weir openly admits in this book that her interest in history began with the dramatic story of Anne Boleyn’s fall. This was the first account that was not a biography of Anne Boleyn, but concentrated just on her arrest and execution – a period of just four months, which would see not only Anne Boleyn beheaded, but also her brother and four other men, accused with her.

This fascinating, and detailed, account, begins with a May Day joust in 1536 at Greenwich. Although Anne had obviously had
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Read this several months ago, but found the audio at my library and just had to read it again.
Nov 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tudor history buffs
In this non-fiction book (her 5th on the Tudors), Weir zeros in on the last 3 months of the life of Anne Boleyn, arguably the most fascinating of Henry VIII's six wives. Anne, as most English history buffs know, was beheaded after failing to produce the one and only thing desired of a royal spouse - a living son - but there was much, much more to her story then her inability to bare an heir. Weir expands on the last days of Anne, and covers information not available in her former book, The Six ...more
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After some very meticulous research, Alison Weir has delivered a well balanced portrayal of the first English queen who was beheaded. She brings to light first person accounts of an event that was so shocking for the time period that there was no precedent for it. And her explanations for why Anne's situation became so dire so quickly lend a clarity that brings the reader as close to the truth as we can get.
I’ve been reading Weir for years. I’ve read almost all of her books. The two I haven’t read yet, I have, and they are in my TBR pile. I picked up The Lady in the Tower at my local BJs (which sometimes has the most wonderful books).
There is something about the Tudors, and it shouldn’t surprise that most of Weir’s non-fiction, and all of her fiction connects to this royal family. I first grew interested in the Tudors because I loved Renaissance English Literature. The Tudors are the ultimate
Anne Boleyn is probably top 2 in my list of favorite historical personages. It's hard to find info about Anne Boleyn that I don't already know from being obsessed with her, and Weir did a great job of providing me with new information about Anne's "trial" and fall. She also gives background on the times, elaborates on various historical theories, and talks a little bit about Elizabeth and Mary as well. I really super enjoyed this.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: liz, dana
Many books have been written on the Tudors, not least on Henry VIII's notorious second queen, Anne Boleyn. Weir revisits her subject with a closer focus, writing primarily on the last four months of Anne's life in 1536. I'm a huge fan of Anne--I've even toyed with getting a tattoo of her signature. But despite it's sometimes claustrophobic focus, this book does not expand my understanding of her, or tell me much that I didn't already know. That Anne had few friends and many enemies, that she had ...more
I always enjoy Alison Weir's books, although I do tend to read them with a certain amount of reserve as she does have a tendency toward bias. She writes with a very clear, intelligent style, and her books are always a pleasure to read - but as I said, I always read them with a pinch of salt in store, and this one is no exception.

Anne Boleyn is one of the most fascinating and probably most mythologised figures of the Tudor period. Indeed, the whole history of Henry VIII often gets reduced to
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Alison Weir examines the last five months of Anne Boleyn's life - from riding high as expectant mother of the next king, to dead on the block, in this fascinating new biography.

Weir digs up a lot of previously unexamined primary sources, draws some new lines between old points, as well as examining what other historians have said on the subject - giving serious consideration to every single other Tudor scholar out there, from serious Starky, to overly romantic Strickland, and less-than-credible
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If 60 Minutes, the late 20/20, and "How to Catch a Predator" existed in Tudor England, then this novel would be the transcript.

We all know the story of the famous concubine turned queen to Henry VIII: Anne Boleyn. We also know how she was accused of adultery and witchcraft (although her trials were only regarding the accusation of adultery and witchcraft was never even mentioned). If you seek to dig deeper into the story, then The Lady in the Tower will become your new best friend.

This piece is
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look there is a book about Anne Boleyn



I am obsessed with anything to do with early English history to the end of Elizabethan period (after that I am like meh). This also includes Henry VIII and his 8 wives (oops) 6 wives so any book about them I'm like give it here!

I really enjoyed this book by Alison Weir who writes quite well, able to articulate very well, very detailed and debunks myths around Anne Boleyn through the use of stable evidence and sources. She emphasises on when there is
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was one of Weir's better nonfiction books. She resists the temptation to demonize either Anne or her opponents, and the book's written in a gripping style. My only real caveat is that Weir seemed to rely too heavily on Cavendish's description of George Boleyn to make a case for his being sexually promiscuous and even sexually predatory, though she herself notes that Cavendish was hostile toward the Boleyn family. I thought that there, and also in her consideration of Anne's sexual ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
In medias res start, which is interesting.

Later: OK, this one has more "she must have known" "it must have occurred to them" etc. than her bio of Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom we know much less about than we do Anne Boleyn.

Very 'eh.'
I enjoyed this well-written and detailed account of Anne Boleyn's final months before her execution. Alison Weir re-examined the primary source evidence surrounding her trial and execution, shedding new light on the circumstances that led to her downfall. It is popularly understood that Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn executed because she couldn't bear male children and he wished to put her aside for a new queen. As this book thoroughly laid out, the reality was a lot more complicated.

I was
Deirdre Metcalf
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Wonderful yet tragic account of the marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII to her tragic death.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Weir is one of my favorite writers on the Tudor period and this book was certainly not a disappointment. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days. Much of Anne Boleyn's life has been lost to history, save the last four months, and this is what Weir tackles in "The Lady in the Tower."

As usual, the author's research was exhaustive, but the fruit of her labor is one well-written, fact-driven book. What I like about Weir is that, in true journalistic and scholarly fashion, she always seeks
Marie Z. Johansen
Nov 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, books never fail to please. I am happy to be able to say that "The Lady In The Tower" has been no exception! I began to read it as soon as I got my hands on it and enjoyed this book all of the way through.

I have long believed that Henry VIII was a narcissistic megalomaniac - especially in the way that he treated Anne Boleyn. Despite whatever faults
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tudor or Medieval history affincionado's
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Author I like and TL group
Shelves: borrowed, tudor, ccclib, royals
First, I have to say that I find the Tudor dynasty fascinating, and have since I first read about them in my teens. That said, my reading up until this point has mostly centered around historical fiction. This is my first non-fiction book about Anne Boleyn, and my first non-fiction book by Alison Weir. When I first began this book, I had already read some Weir, but all novels. After the first chapter of this book, I admit, I was worried, as it took me a little while to get used the numerous ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant book! Instead of the usual historical monograph, I found that I really got caught up in this book. As we all know, it's basically the last 19 days of Anne Boleyn's life, from the 1st May, Mayday joust where she Henry for the last time, through to her arrest a couple of days later, then subsequent imprisonment, trial and execution on 19 May. It also plot the demise of her 5 co-accused and their subsequent trials and executions. I could actually feel the tension rise as the days ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
‘If any person will meddle with my cause, I require them to judge the best.’

The imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn in May 1536 was unprecedented in English history. Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 2 May 1536, tried and found guilty of high treason on 15 May 1536 and executed on 19 May 1536. Her supposed crimes included adultery with five men, including her brother George Boleyn, and plotting the death of King Henry VIII. These are the facts, but there is considerable
Pete daPixie
I have to give this five stars. I'm just a sucker when it comes to historical mystery or a good old conspiracy theory. English history is littered with some classics. Edward the Martyr at Corfe Castle back in the tenth century, William Rufus in the New Forest, the happy family tumult of Henry II, the mystery of Edward II with the machinations of Roger Mortimer and Philippa of Hainault as well as everyones favourite mystery of the Princes in the Tower, to name but a few.
Alison Weir's 'The Lady in
Since becoming interested in English history, I find myself drawn time and time again to the Tudors, and particularly to Henry VIII and his unlucky wives. Of those wives, I find Anne Boleyn particularly fascinating. This book concentrates on the short period in which she was arrested, tried and executed to make way for Jane Seymour (who it seems I have taken a violent dislike to during my historical reading adventure, but that's a rant for another time).

If Anne Boleyn is new to you, you're
G. Lawrence
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book, must have read it 50 times!
Marie Burton
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

Although perhaps anti-climatic with the multitude of biographies and Tudor histories, this newest work by historian Alison Weir provides Anne Boleyn enthusiasts with so many detailed accounts of the last four months of Anne's life that there is little left wanting. It is extensive with the recounting of the events that led to Anne's arrest, and Weir leaves no stone unturned in her endeavor to relay details from the myriad of sources.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when you thought all the ins and outs of the fall of Anne Boleyn have been explored, something new appears.

Alison Weir shows she is the master of this era. She integrates her own scholarship and thoughts with what she has sifted through in the work of other Tudor historians. Weir must have read every Tudor related scrap of writing housed in the British Museum and every other collection. Her wide and deep knowledge of this period gives her the background to interpret all of it for the
A coherent, detailed study of Anne Boleyn's final days. I do, however, take issue with a few of the author's theories, namely that Henry VIII was as much a victim to political machination as Anne.
Page 60, Weir states that "Henry VIII would warn Jane Seymour--after she in her turn spoke up for the religious houses--that she should 'attend to other things, [for:] the last queen had died in consequence of meddling to much in state affairs.' No fool, Henry knew exactly what had brought about Anne's

This is an intimate view of Anne Boleyn's final days, and as usual Alison Weir does a stunning job of presenting the facts to her readers. As I have mentioned before, I love Weir's writing because she presents all the information, then gives her opinion on which event in question most likely occurred and why she believes so. This lets the reader to come to their own conclusion.

This book is not just about Anne, it is also about the men executed along with her. We get a good look at their lives
On May 19, 1536 Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second queen, was beheaded at the Tower of London on sensational charges of adultery; her destruction had been accomplished in less than a month. Anne's story has been told in many good biographies (and a few really bad historical novels), but this book is the first time her fall has been studied in depth as an isolated event in itself. The reliability of the surviving documentary sources varies wildly and constitutes something of a minefield, but Weir, ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn
  • Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
  • Cleopatra: A Life
  • Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen
  • Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
  • Bloody Mary: The Life of Mary Tudor
  • Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII
  • Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen
  • Elizabeth I
  • The Queen's Fool / The Virgin's Lover
  • The Wives of Henry VIII
  • Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery
  • Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
  • Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
  • The Other Tudors: Henry VIII's Mistresses and Bastards
  • Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction. Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her formal training in history at teacher training