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Whitehall Palace, London, 1540. It’s thirty years into the reign of King Henry VIII, and it’s been a long, hot, summer. London is experiencing intense heat and there has been no rain for two months. But while his subjects wilt, the King’s vigor remains undiminished. The Reformation goes on. Henry has just married the beautiful Katherine Howard, his fifth queen, who is a mere seventeen years old. She’s different from earlier wives in more ways than age; far from being nobility, she was “discovered” by some of the king’s friends in a boarding house for wayward young ladies.

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