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on 10 November 2013
I found this an interesting and exciting read. The alternating of chapters relating to the finding of Richard III's bones and the history leading up to Bosworth adds to the enjoyment.

I found Philippa Langley's chapters relating to her journey interesting and exciting. Whilst some of her personal comments might sound strange, I put these aside - at the end of the day, her obsession and determination achieved what she set out to do, and she should be praised for that.

Michael Jones chapters were particularly good reading - particularly the chapter on Bosworth, and the moments leading up to the demise of Richard - this really was un-putdownable and almost compares to a blockbuster film - it left me wanting to read more by Mr Jones.

I would have liked more detail behind the science of the dig and the finding of the bones - that is what is missing from this book. I also found myself constantly going back to the selection of pictorial maps in the book, to better understand the positioning of the trenches and their finds - so, perhaps an overlaying map at the front of the book would have been useful - ie all together, overlaying all of the different periods and finds, together with compass points.

I have read several books on Richard III. I see myself as an objective reader of Richard - accepting that we don't know all of the facts, that these were turbulent times and very different to our own.

I recommend this book to anyone considering reading it
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 November 2013
This book represents the culmination of the work of dedicated Ricardian, Phillipa Langley, and her relentless search for the remains of King Richard the Third, which were disposed of hastily and without ceremony after his defeat at Bosworth. Her refusal to give up, her lobbying for resources, and her emotional connection to the project are well documented in her paragraphs of the work, which alternate with a very clear and dispassionate examination of the life and very short reign of this monarch, whose reputation suffered at the hands of Tudor propagandists.

The "R" in the carpark is possibly one of the strangest trigger points for an archaeological dig ever, but Phillipa's instincts were so strong, and so absolutely right, that it is almost as if Richard himself was guiding the work.

Michael Jones on the other hand is not an emotional writer, and bases his historical interpretations of Richard's life and career on solid research: his work definitely redresses some of the Tudorbethan bad press that sought to bolster in every way, the slender right of Henry the Seventh to take the throne. So, not an evil Shakespearean Crookback, but a highly intelligent and physically brave man who fought to his last breath to hang on to his kingdom. The fate of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, remains an enigma and an unresolved crime although it is clear that Richard was not the only person with an interest in their removal from the scene.

His recovered skeleton, showing significant scoliosis in his spine, indicates that he was much burdened by pain from the curvature during his life, and the sensitive reconstruction of the facial features gives us a wonderful glimpse into a long vanished past which casts a spell to this day.

This is not the best history book you will ever read, but it is very good and on Langley's part at least, written with love.
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on 26 November 2013
I have always had a desire to know more about the life and times of Richard lll for I found it hard to believe that circumstances could change his personality so drastically. I therefore watched the TV program, not sure of what to expect but hoping for more information. It was most interesting but posed as many questions as it answered. So I bought the book.
I liked the format a great deal - personal and emotional chapters interspersed with detailed factual ones. This made the book very easy to read. It was also evident that for Philippa Langley the search for Richard's grave was the culmination of several years of hard work and personal belief and she managed to express her feelings throughout the excavation and subsequent laboratory tests in such a way as to involve her readers in the highs and lows of each discovery.
Michael Jones supplied the calming approach. He set out the provable facts about Richard simply and concisely and though the co-authors couldn't agree on the main question of whether the sons of Edward IV were indeed killed by, or on the order of Richard, he explained that the way people lived and behaved at the time could go some way to mitigating their actions.
The fantastic success of the excavation in finding Richard's body and thereby revealing the truth about his stature and death at the battle of Bosworth can only help to increase our knowledge of these times.
This is a book to set you thinking.
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This is a very readable account of the search for the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park. The chapters alternate between the account of getting together the team that sets about the actual excavation and search for the remains and the historical background of Richard and his reign. It was generally believed that following his death at the battle of Bosworth Richard's body was taken to Leicester and probably hastily buried in (or near) the Greyfriars Priory. A car park now covered the presumed site of the priory so this was a logical place to begin the search. I was a little put off in the early part of the book when Philippa Langley describes walking across the car park and getting a strange sensation. "I had goose-bumps, so much so that even in the sunshine I felt cold to my bone. And I knew in my innermost being that Richard's body lay here." Not a very scientific start!

However the search continued in a much more rational way and if it was not for the determination and drive of Philippa Langley and the Richard III Society then the bones would have forever lain undiscovered. The evidence from the bones was fascinating and the results give us another piece of the puzzle of the complexities of Richard.

Although this book is popular history it is very well reference and indexed. The family trees and the time-line at the beginning are both very useful, too.
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on 14 October 2013
This is almost a "can't put down book". The process/progress of the search is skilfully interleaved with a lucid and up to date reviews of the life of Richard III. The book has just the right amount of detail for a general reader. The notes and a bibliography allow anybody wanting to delve deeper, whether they are are a general reader or a serious student of Richard III.
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on 14 November 2013
Like others, I found this book unputdownable. The amazing discovery of Richard III's grave, and a viewing of the related C4 TV programmes, prompted me to give this book a try. I can only echo the praise of many of the previous reviewers. As someone who found history rather a dull subject at school, Michael Jones's chapters in 'Richard III, The King's Grave', and Philippa Langley's account of the planning involved in the search for the monarch's remains, made me realise just how much I have been missing. I am certainly prompted to read further around this particular subject and adjacent periods of English history. A very enjoyable, educational tome, which is available at a bargain price if you look around.
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on 8 October 2013
I was surprised at how exciting this was considering I have watched the Channel 4 " King in the Car Park" ... on more than one occasion I must confess. I just could not wait to get on to the next day of Philippa's search. A masterstroke to have the chapters alternating with Michael Jones' take on Richard and his actions. It really emphasises how much we should beware of looking at persons in history from a modern mind set, living through the Wars if the Roses was like trying to survive in a war zone . A HIGHLY recommended read.
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on 22 October 2013
My comments mirror those of others reviewers of this book. The chapters alternate one from Philippa Langley giving the present day events of the discovery of King Richard then one from Michael Jones giving the historical background of the kings life. I honestly could not put this book down even though I knew the history of Richard and I knew the outcome that he would be found after over 500 years. I loved the format of the book being transported from the 21st century one chapter back to the 15th in the next. There were times when I thought I was reading a novel that would make a very good film the way that the remains were found but as we know it is true. There will no doubt be many other books written on this subject...especially after they a decide where King Richard will eventually be laid to rest. I thoughly recommend this book whether you know little of the historical period or you are an expert.....just be warned clear your diary for a couple of days as nothing else will get done !
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on 28 December 2013
I had seen the documentary on finding Richard III and became fascinated, so found the book a wonderful filler of the detail behind not only the excavation but also the history of this apparently maligned King. I was quite ignorant on it all and the authors have skillfully woven history into the detail and importance of the events of the excavation, and I couldn't put it down. I suspect that this may challenge the beliefs of some people who had more knowledge of what happened to this monarch than me, but maybe the authors are correct and this man was the subject of a major smear campaign?? Highly recommended.
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on 22 February 2014
I purchased this book on Richard 111 as I was myself once a member of the Richard 111 society. My interested really started when I saw Laurence Olivier's film in the early 60's on TV when I was at school. I knew nothing about Shakespeare or Richard 111 but Olivier's performance as Richard 111 kick started my interest. I admired his performance as Richard 111 but I decided to dig deeper into the real Kings life and death and read many books on the subject.Later I joined the society as I thought that Shakespeare had blackened Richard's name and he most likely was not the evil monster Shakespeare said he was who killed most of his family to gain the throne of England. I watched with interest when the remains were found and they turned out to be Richard 111. I have visited Bosworth field where Richard died in battle in 1485 and very interesting it was in my opinion. He unfortunately died a terrible death going by the book really he was hacked to pieces and his body was stripped naked and thrown over a horse and taken to Leicester for all to see and just thrown into a grave in Greyfriars Abbey which I think was destroyed during Henry V111's time. Problem is the people who have written this book Phillippa Langley and Michael Jones are I think members of the society and they are still trying to clear Richard's name of the charges against him like the murder of the Princes in the Tower but after 500 years will that ever happen. Tudor propaganda did much to destroy Richard's reputation and Shakespeare got some of his hearsay from people like Thomas More who was born many years after Richard's death I think I am right in saying. There is one thing I have found out from the book the Yorkist claim to the throne was via the female line and not the male this I was not aware of. But I think if anyone is interested in this last Plantagenet King of England and history of Richard 111 and finding the Kings grave it is good reading and does also go into Richard's life and times and personality.
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