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The Killing of Richard III: Wars of the Roses I Kindle Edition
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Believe me all the best books written about Richard are the oldest...do also try Robert Farrigtons "Tudor agent."
Another great writer, Rosemary Hawley Jarman wrote sympathetically but realistically of Richard the man and the period of the wars of the roses...
Seeing Robert Farringtons 'The killing of Richard the third' with its bright new cover inspired me to write this review of a book i sought out and read so long ago. Surely its only a matter of time before more of these great writers are re marketed because of present interest in that period...i will be looking out for them ..hope you will too!
The hero, Henry Morane, a fictional character, is chief clerk to John Kendall, a real historical figure who was Secretary to King Edward IV, and held the same position under Richard Duke of Gloucester when he was first Lord Protector and then King Richard III. Morane becomes involved in spying for the King on the intrigues and plots of treacherous barons such as Sir William Stanley and of the King's rival, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII).
Effectively Morane is a sort of 15th century Yorkist James Bond.
This is the first in a trilogy of books about his adventures, which consists of:
1) "The Killing of Richard III"
2) "Tudor Agent: Wars of the Roses II"
3) "The Traitors of Bosworth: Wars of the Roses III"
The book contains a large amount of historical detail, some true, some speculation, usually described in an entertaining and accessible way.
Richard III has been presented by Tudor propaganda as a monster and tyrant, and the murderer of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower. Henry Morane is clearly devoted to him and does not share that view, part of the story being around his attempts to discover and bring to justice the real murderers.
Most novels dealing with this period tend either to portray Richard III either as a near saint (An example being the brilliant "The Daughter Of Time" by Josephine Tey) in which case they usually depict Henry VII as a monster, or else to portray Richard as something close to the ruthless murderer presented by Shakespeare. This book and the subsequent Henry Morane novels are unsual in that they are sympathetic, without being sycophantic, to both Richard III and Henry VII.
All in all this is an entertaining book, but perhaps not one to be taken too seriously.
Interestingly, the author died in 1994, aged nearly 80, so it seems that this reissue of a book first published in 1971 and which I had not come across before, has been timed neatly to capture peoples' interest after the discovery of Richard III's remains. It's a pity the author did not live to see this, as you get the impression from this novel that he would have felt a lot of respect for Richard. His empathetic portrayal of the man who found himself in the rather unenviable role of King of England at a time of such turmoil and with threats from all sides is welcome.
This is a really good novel of Richard III; while it only covers the last two years of his life, we get a new perspective on times that may seem familiar to many through the eyes of Henry Morane. Great stuff.
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