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The Seventh Son: A Unique Portrait of Richard III Paperback – 28 Feb 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; Reprint edition (28 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472207920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472207920
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The book cries out to be made into a TV serial, every bit as compelling as ELIZABETH R or the version of Robert Graves's CLAUDIUS books (The Scotsman)

A hugely enjoyable read (Glasgow Herald)

Tannahill's Richard is complicated, ruthless, sometimes troubled, but no plaster saint (The Scotsman)

Enthralling...a highly satisfying story (Pocklington Post)

Praise for Reay Tannahill:

'A rattling good yarn' The Times

'A sweeping grandeur touched novel with superb characterisations' Publishers Weekly

'There's romance, humour and, above all, a display of brilliant storytelling' Woman

(Various)

Book Description

A brilliant novel about England's most enigmatic king, Richard III.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A lot of people think they know all about Richard III - whether he's the evil tyrant who killed the princes in the Tower and got his comeuppance, or the good king who was unjustly blamed and brutally slain - and for us historical fiction addicts it's a very well-worn story. Which means novelists have to work all the harder if they decide to re-tell it: the bar was set very high, after all, when Sharon Penman wrote The Sunne in Splendour nearly twenty years before this book was published.
If I had to choose a word to describe this attempt it would be 'workmanlike'. She's done her best to clarify the complex politics and relationships of the Wars of the Roses with a family tree, an introduction and endnotes (although within the novel itself the explanations can get rather tangled and clunky), and she takes us through all the familiar events very efficiently. But all it boils down to is another straightforward account of the story, albeit her version. There's no attempt to do anything with it, to give it a new slant or focus, and compared to the Penman version it's very skimpy.
It strikes me as a book that was written to flesh out her theories about how and why Richard gained and then lost the throne. Her depiction of the plotting of Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor, and her two chief partners in crime, Cardinal Morton and Reginald Bray, is very convincing. She could be right - who knows? - but it doesn't make for a very compelling novel.
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Format: Paperback
I was not surprised to see in the author's notes that Tannahill recommended Charles Ross' biography of Richard III as a reliable nonfiction source because I had been reminded of his book the entire time I was reading hers. She does take a balanced, if sometimes dull, approach to Richard compared to many other modern authors who seem to paint him in an overly optimistic light. He is "a man of his times," a loyal but realistic nobleman, a man who knows that you cannot allow weaknesses to appear if you are to take control.

While Tannahill's characterization was not the most enjoyable that I have read, it is quite possible that it is accurate. This fiction account takes into consideration known facts and varying theories about Richard and his motivations. I can accept that he was not the ideal man in every way, but do wish she had painted him as a more loving husband. He also seemed to fall apart a little too much at the death of his brother. Maybe too many bad decision, and other people's ability to manipulate him, were explained away by the fact that he "just wasn't himself yet."

What I enjoyed most about this book was the way Tannahill explained how and why events happened and people made decisions that they made. She may not be correct, of course, but she at least created a motivation that makes sense unlike some other authors who give us people betraying Richard and leave us wondering why. A couple of these incidents seemed a little far fetched - Elizabeth leaving sanctuary because she was bored and all of the negative propaganda coming from Reginald Bray - but for the most part her reasoning was compelling. It made sense why Richard could become so vilified when he began as such a honorable, dependable, well-liked brother of the King.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Richard III's ascent to the throne and downfall at Bosworth. He was portrayed as a human being, with faults and virtues, as have we all! It was quite fast paced and the personalities of the main protagonists were interesting. I especially liked the portrayal of Richard and Anne's relationship - it wasn't idealised, but was nevertheless tender at times and felt very "real" !
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The writers interpretation of the subject was so clear especially as to Richard's character, and his relationship with his wife Anne. Lot of research obvoiusly done and as I say, it is the best novel on the subject I have ever read. Having very recently visited Bosworth Battlefield, I could almost feel Richard's tragedy at having lost those so called friends to whom he had entrusted his faith. Unfortunatley not everyone was as truly loyal as Richard was and he was subsequently slaughtered because of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel gives an interesting outlook on Richard III as a man, dealing with historical accounts and reaching beyond the Tudor and shakesperean propaganda. The first part of the novel is not entirely consistent with the apparent goal of the writer: dialogues between Anne and Richard sound sometimes too modern while their relationship is based on medieval man and wife model and does not take into account their childhood years that must have had an effect on the apparent tenderness between them emerging from the few historical surviving records. The second part of the book relates events and circumstances leading to Richard's taking of the English throne in a plausible and effective way and the reader is made to at least understand, if not justify, Richard's motives for his actions.
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