Will Somers: The King’s Fool Mysteries

SONG OF THE MAGPIE

A King’s Fool Mystery

1528

 Will Somers plays the fool for King Henry VIII—quite literally. As the court jester to the king, he is one of the few men within the sphere of the king’s shadow who can poke and prod his royal master, making a fool of him, entertaining Henry with song and jest, and having the privilege of being the only one in the kingdom to call him “Hal” to his face. And while courtiers, councilors, and ambassadors quiver under the king’s assault—as indeed, many are executed for crossing him—Will finds his place as part of the family, attending to one prince and two princesses and eventually endearing himself to six queens, while keeping his head at the same time.

Though he is surrounded by all of court, Will finds his life a lonely one. A king’s fool is not a man who can easily make friends with those who might be competitors for his royal patron’s time. But when he finds himself falling for a courtier, he doesn’t realize that someone is using that knowledge as blackmail to get closer to the king. And when this same courtier is found dead—hanging upside down from the heights of Greenwich Court with dead magpies stuffed in his clothing—Will feels compelled to find the killer, for this death comes far too close to the royal family and all signs point to a conspiracy to kill the Tudor monarch.

This is the first in a Tudor mystery series, featuring King Henry VIII’s real court jester, Will Somers, during Henry’s troubled reign.