King's Fool is a story about Will Somers, a shy boy from Shropshire who becomes jester, friend and confidante to one of the most extraordinary of monarchs, King Henry VIII. Narrated by Will himself, we are given a special glimpse into the King Henry that only he knew.
A chance meeting with King Henry was all it took for the King to take a liking to Somers and offer him to join his court. Will was a well-rounded man - honest, compassionate and loyal - he fastly became a member of the royal family and was well-liked by the court. If at first the title of jester didn't appeal to him, he quickly changed his mind when told of all the perks - jesters had free reign (sorry - bad pun) over court and could pretty much blend in anywhere. Will was jester throughout all of Henry's marriages and provides us with an unbiased account of all six debacles, as well as, the relationship between Henry and his children.
What I liked best about this book was the relationship between Will and King Henry. Will was probably the only true friend Henry ever had. I really enjoyed seeing the hidden side of Henry, the not so arrogant side - when he becomes Henry the man, not Henry the king. Henry the man is much more likable! In the very least, it made me have a bit of sympathy for Henry - it's not a life I would've wanted.
All in all I really liked this novel - Barnes is an excellent writer and manages to fit a lot of life into 300 pages, but for me I wished it had been longer. If after reading this book, you're itching to get more in-depth with Henry VIII, then I suggest Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII as told by his fool, Will Somers. This is very similar to King's Fool, albeit in reader's digest form, as George's novel is over 1000 pages.