The Tower of London is a novel by William Harrison Ainsworth serially published inIt is a historical romance that describes the history of Lady Jane Grey from her short lived time as Queen of England to her execution


10 thoughts on “The Tower Of London

  1. Debbie Zapata Debbie Zapata says:

    From the author s prefaceIt has been, for years, the cherished wish of the writer of the following pages, to make the Tower of London the proudest monument of antiquity, considered with reference to its historical associations, which this country or any other possesses, the groundwork of a Romance and it was no slight satisfaction to him, that circumstances, at length, enabled him to carry into effect his favourite project, in conjunction with the inimitable Artist, whose designs accompany th From the author s prefaceIt has been, for years, the cherished wish of the writer of the following pages, to make the Tower of London the proudest monument of antiquity, considered with reference to its historical associations, which this country or any other possesses, the groundwork of a Romance and it was no slight satisfaction to him, that circumstances, at length, enabled him to carry into effect his favourite project, in conjunction with the inimitable Artist, whose designs accompany the work.Desirous of exhibiting the Tower in its triple light of a palace, a prison, and a fortress, the Author has shaped his story with reference to that end and he has also endeavoured to contrive such a series of incidents as should naturally introduce every relic of the old pile, its towers, chapels, halls, chambers, gateways, arches, and drawbridges so that no part of it should remain un illustrated I would say that with the story of Lady Jane Grey, known forever after as the Nine Days Queen, Ainsworth met his goal The 17 chapters of Book One follow Jane from arrival in London to being named de facto Queen, to the arrival of Mary Tudor and her supporters Lady Jane was basically abandoned to her fate at that time, but the 42 chapters of Book Two, which cover the months until execution day, give us plenty of opportunity to see all the towers, dungeons, secret passages and so on that Ainsworth so delighted in There is an evil jailer to deal with, the torture chamber to visitthan once, a side romance or two between various minor and surely made up characters Knowing that the major episodes here actually happened kept my interest, but I had some problems with the rest of the story, especially believe it or not the information given about the Tower I wish Ainsworth had written either a non fiction history of the building or else a completely fiction romance He was constantly having characters enter such and such a room which is now called so and so and has seen much history since the days of our story, including this, that and the other That type of thing gets old and disrupts the flow of the Romance Then there were the three giants, guards in the Tower all brothers, all huge and all supposedly illegitimate sons of Henry the 8th The cutesy verbal fencing between them and both Mary and Elizabeth Tudor was a bit too much even for a Romance.Also a bit much were those incredible dinners the author described Down in the cellars where the leavings of the royal table were sent That is where the three giants and the unfortunate dwarf Xit and a few friends took their meals These scenes were supposed to act as comic relief, I suppose, but they seemed to bejust chances to humiliate Xit He was always getting dumped into the pies, or teased into a temper tantrum, or coaxed into becoming drunk I will admit that the dishes described sounded amazing, but the device itself became predictable quickly Ainsworth also had the annoying habit of leaving one chapter to begin the next with people you hadn t read about in quite a few chapters There was very much a meanwhile, back at the ranch feel to the entire book Since this was originally published in serial form, that style probably kept readers coming back each week or however often to see what happened But for reading the book all in one go, it felt too clunky So, even though I enjoyed parts of the book to a degree, I was fairly unhappy with it overall and do not plan to add any other Ainsworth titles to my lists


  2. Y.K. Willemse Y.K. Willemse says:

    This book was very dense linguistically, but a rich read overall All characters were explored in complex detail, and even Bloody Mary was portrayed as a mixed bag The reader s sympathies are all with Lady Jane Grey by the end though It seems painfully cruel that such an innocent seventeen year old died by beheading Certainly a deeper look into this period of England s history.


  3. Surreysmum Surreysmum says:

    These notes were made in 1986 I read a 19th century edition with George Cruikshank s illustrations George Cruikshank s illustrations and there is an extraordinary number of them play a very large part in this novel, tho a somewhat disorienting one, rather like Ainsworth s text itself For the plates have to do with the 16th century story, both the historical one of the rise and fall of Lady Jane Grey, and the fictional ones of Cholmondely Cicely and the downstairs people the wood en These notes were made in 1986 I read a 19th century edition with George Cruikshank s illustrations George Cruikshank s illustrations and there is an extraordinary number of them play a very large part in this novel, tho a somewhat disorienting one, rather like Ainsworth s text itself For the plates have to do with the 16th century story, both the historical one of the rise and fall of Lady Jane Grey, and the fictional ones of Cholmondely Cicely and the downstairs people the wood engravings, on the other hand, carefully depict the appropriate parts of the Tower now i.e 1840 Ainsworth s fondness for each part of the Tower is so great, and his delight in its detail so patent, that it s amazing he manages to integrate his plots and his descriptions as well as he does In Lady Jane, of course, he has prime dramatic material, and he manages to make Guilford Dudley and Northumberland quite good foils to her Mary, Elizabeth, Courtenay and Renard the Spanish Ambassador are all also quite well drawn Next to these people, the obligatory romance hero and heroine, despite their involvement with such Gothic necessities as labyrinthine tunnels, a mad mother, and hidden aristocratic identity, are vapid creatures indeed Or possibly because of it Ainsworth, perhaps deliberately, mocks the identity revealed plot by echoing it on a ludicrous level with his 3 giants bastard sons of Henry VIII and dwarf foundling son of a minor French functionary In the constant ludicrous treatment of the dwarf Xit, Ainsworth s sense of humour and mine part company The two kinds of inevitability historical and romance are not particularly in conflict here, but perhaps that is because the real star of the novel is the Tower itself the real climax of the novel when it is besieged by, and repulses, Wyat s rebellion


  4. Jay Pees Jay Pees says:

    I read the Kindle version It was full of typographical errors, on almost every page and sometimes several on a page So many that I tired of commenting on them and correcting them As was previously noted, sometimes the characters spoke in terribly complex sentences, which i doubt even royalty spoke For all the misspellings it was sometimes difficult to read The extrememly detailed descriptions were also rather tedious and unnecessary With the above being said , I enjoyed the book and feel i I read the Kindle version It was full of typographical errors, on almost every page and sometimes several on a page So many that I tired of commenting on them and correcting them As was previously noted, sometimes the characters spoke in terribly complex sentences, which i doubt even royalty spoke For all the misspellings it was sometimes difficult to read The extrememly detailed descriptions were also rather tedious and unnecessary With the above being said , I enjoyed the book and feel it was historically accurate but for some characters I had never heard of Perhaps they existed, perhaps they were a product of the author s imagination, after all, it is a historical novel, a piece of semi fiction I would truly like to read a corrected version of the book, perhaps condensed somewhat In short, I loved the book, despite its many, many technical shortcomings


  5. Rob Best Rob Best says:

    The Tower of London is an interesting, easy read, but definitely not the greatest achievement of storytelling Ainsworth wrote the novel as a serial and a labor of love about the Tower He succeeds in exploring some of the values and ways of life of 1500s England, but fails to create likeable characters or an intriguing plot In part to stay to some semblance of historical accuracy, the characters of nobility in the book are very poorly defined and explored More liberty is taken with the lowe The Tower of London is an interesting, easy read, but definitely not the greatest achievement of storytelling Ainsworth wrote the novel as a serial and a labor of love about the Tower He succeeds in exploring some of the values and ways of life of 1500s England, but fails to create likeable characters or an intriguing plot In part to stay to some semblance of historical accuracy, the characters of nobility in the book are very poorly defined and explored More liberty is taken with the lower class characters, and thus they areinteresting Overall, however, the book is longer than it needs to be probably because he was paid by the word and is mostly to be appreciated for the window into the past it offers.The story revolves around the brief reign and ultimate beheading of Lady Jane Grey Dudley Ainsworth refuses to paint Jane in any sort of negative light, perhaps contrary to historical fact, and instead treats her as one simply manipulated by those closest to her The religious overtones of the book are fantastically interesting as they explore a time very different from our own in terms of the importance of different sects of Christianity and the zeal with which different characters fought for their beliefs Yet they also paint Jane as a martyr, perhaps too sympathetically.The bulk of the interesting part of the plot revolves around a tragic pair of lovers from the lower class Subjected to a litany of trouble and finally absolved through the beneficence of the queen and an unlikely turn of events, they present the most interesting of several storylines in the book Yet none of the storytelling approaches the skill of contemporary, better known authors of the time While worth a read for those interested in history of the period following Henry the Eighth, the book is definitely not something to be read by all


  6. Robert Hepple Robert Hepple says:

    Originally published in 1840, The Tower of London is a novel set against a background of unrest and insurrection following changes to the monarchy in 1553 1554 Ainsworth s writing style means that the story pauses often so that any moments of pomp and ceremony can be described in sumptuous and repetitive detail, whilst longer pauses occur occasionally so that an almost travelog description of the surrounding area can take place, as well as very long sequences where the story stops dead while a Originally published in 1840, The Tower of London is a novel set against a background of unrest and insurrection following changes to the monarchy in 1553 1554 Ainsworth s writing style means that the story pauses often so that any moments of pomp and ceremony can be described in sumptuous and repetitive detail, whilst longer pauses occur occasionally so that an almost travelog description of the surrounding area can take place, as well as very long sequences where the story stops dead while a history lecture is delivered To be fair, Ainsworth does not do these things to quite the same extremes as in later novels, but it is noticeable The story, set against so many events and with a number of threads, tends to be episodic but I think that this works in its favour in creating a lotfocus and momentum than that which it would have had otherwise given the aforementioned built in pauses I was surprised by the sometimes graphic nature of the descriptions of torture given at times, yet it fits the setting and circumstances so well Ainsworth also manages to inject some very good humour into the story alongside that various grim events, and it all hangs together very well


  7. Shelley Shelley says:

    This was the condensed version and it was interesting The writing was not particularly stellar seemed like it was written in haste or by a young person but the story was fun If you like castle intrigue and murder and torture, this is a good one for a quick read Boy meets girl, they fall in love but are parted by jealous suitor of girl Boy gets thrown in dungeon, escapes, thwarts plan to kill the much hated new queen, gets re arrested, escapes severaltimes, gets tortured, finally marr This was the condensed version and it was interesting The writing was not particularly stellar seemed like it was written in haste or by a young person but the story was fun If you like castle intrigue and murder and torture, this is a good one for a quick read Boy meets girl, they fall in love but are parted by jealous suitor of girl Boy gets thrown in dungeon, escapes, thwarts plan to kill the much hated new queen, gets re arrested, escapes severaltimes, gets tortured, finally marries girl after suitor in his dying moments pardons him and gives girl family papers that restore her family lands and fortune New queen is ultimately beheaded.Fast read because it was a bit condensed but it was still good


  8. Brian Brian says:

    The author s characters often spoke in complex compound sentences, sounding like legal briefs from lawyers rather than spontaneous dialog And the detailed setting descriptions of tower after tower at The Tower would have been easier to follow with an accompanying floor plan But the tale is informative of the intrigue of the Crown, the Inquisition, and not a little on the tortures of the day At one point I broke out in a clammy sweat reading of one victim s time on The Rack and we think The author s characters often spoke in complex compound sentences, sounding like legal briefs from lawyers rather than spontaneous dialog And the detailed setting descriptions of tower after tower at The Tower would have been easier to follow with an accompanying floor plan But the tale is informative of the intrigue of the Crown, the Inquisition, and not a little on the tortures of the day At one point I broke out in a clammy sweat reading of one victim s time on The Rack and we think waterboarding is torture I got an extra delight reading a work that is 150 years old and still entertaining today


  9. Rdb Rdb says:

    Read 129 of 511 pages