The House of Dudley

The House of Dudley

A New History of Tudor England. A TIMES Book of the Year 2022


Told for the very first time, this is the shocking and extraordinary story of the most-conniving and manipulative Tudor family you've never heard of . . .

'A tour-de-force of Tudor history. Remarkable' DAN JONES
'Exciting and immersive. An immensely entertaining history' SUNDAY TIMES
'This is riveting stuff: death, desire, power and scandal' SPECTATOR
'A twist on the Tudors . . . Enormously entertaining - a sheer joy to read' THE TIMES

Was the House of Dudley out to steal the throne?

This was the question on the mind of Elizabeth I's courtiers when a forbidden book accused generations of the Dudley family of poisonings, plottings, murders, treason, incitement and other 'evil stratagems.'

For decades, the Dudleys had been close to the throne, rising from nobodies to the land's highest offices.

Under Henrys VII and VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and, finally, Elizabeth, they risked execution and imprisonment as they audaciously stole, murdered and swindled in the name of the monarch.

But were they loyally protecting the crown, or did they secretly covet it for themselves?


'A pacy narrative, vividly written, makes you want to read on and on. Joanne Paul is a major new talent in the field' ALISON WEIR

'Breathes new life into an old and familiar Tudor story . . . It's delightful, a joy to read' THE TIMES, 'BOOK OF THE WEEK'

'A thrilling and deeply researched study of power and conspiracy: the rise and fall of the other Tudor dynasty. The House of Dudley illuminates the fascinating men and women who almost became kings and queens in their own right' SIMON SEBAG-MONTEFIORE

'Rich and compelling. Conjures up the look and feel of Tudor life . . . You will find yourself drawn in, fascinated, and richly informed' TELEGRAPH

'Vivid, innovative and authoritative. I could not recommend The House of Dudley more highly. It's a real lesson in how to revitalise the writing of Tudor history' SARAH GRISTWOOD

'A full-blooded affair, as good on the horrors of war as it is on the soft power of the Dudley women, and written in a lively, episodic style that presents each Dudley as a foil to the monarch they served' JESSIE CHILDS

'An enthralling read told by Paul with great verve and an eye for the telling detail' LITERARY REVIEW

'The crowning jewel in its genre . . . I can't recommend this book enough. Unputdownable' LINDSEY FITZHARRIS

'When reading Joanne Paul's lively history of the house of Dudley, it is impossible not to be reminded of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy' MAIL ON SUNDAY

*The House of Dudley: Named one of The Times
Books of the Year 2022*


  • A tour-de-force of Tudor history, as seen through the eyes of a family with a front-row view of almost every major political event in sixteenth-century England. Remarkable
    Dan Jones, Sunday Times bestselling author of Powers and Thrones

About the author

Joanne Paul

Joanne Paul is a writer, broadcaster, consultant, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History at the University of Sussex. A BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, her research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of the Renaissance and Early Modern periods. She has written for the Cambridge University Press 'Ideas in Context' series, and has been widely praised for her work on Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. Her current academic project is an edition of Thomas More’s Utopia for the Oxford University Press.

The House of Dudley is her acclaimed first book, described as ‘a tour de force of Tudor history’ by Dan Jones, and named a ‘Book of the Year’ by the Times, The Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, and History Today. Thomas More: A Life is publishing Spring 2025.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more