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on 12 April 2013
A great read and extremely well-researched by an expert historian and genealogist. The author's finding and contact of a living relative of Richard III's sister, Anne of York (1439-76) - 17 generations in the female line, is a splendid achievement. So is the discovery of Richard's body below the famous car park in Leicester and the University of Leicester's excellent work, thanks largely to Dr. John Ashdown-Hill's tracing of living descendants who could provide mitochondrial DNA samples, which is also quite astonishing. Surely one of the great archaeological/genealogical triumphs of the 21st century, certainly in the UK.

As for the personality of Richard, it is still hard to gauge the man. Dr Ashdown Hill takes a sympathetic view and says the facts are still uncertain and we still do not know who ordered the killing of the Princes in the Tower. Even so, there can be little doubt that Richard was a driven and ambitious man who took his main chance and usurped the throne and by so doing, even if not directly responsible for the murders, brought about the Princes' early and tragic demise. Sure Richard was brave....but also slightly crazy to charge off as he did at Bosworth field, thereby ensuring his own early demise at 32 years of age and his replacement as King by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, later Henry VII. Whatever the truth about Richard's act of usurpation, the fact that Richard was legitimate and the Princes illegitimate, according to the logic of the times, is all a load of (white) hog wash....if I can be allowed to use the expression. In the end, did it really matter who was sitting on the throne, so long as they ruled wisely and fairly and abided by the laws of the land. After all, Prince Edward, Edward V as he briefly became, was the King's son and alas, became a victim of inter-family feuding, rivalry and power-lust. He may well have done a very fine job as king...had he been given the chance and not been robbed of it by his wicked uncle. You only have to look at the Royal Pedigree in J.H. Plumb's 'The Plantaganets' to see how weak family affections were, many of the players being murdered in cold blood by their own kith and kin. So much for ideas of Hamiltonian kin selection....that is, selection in favour of one's nearest and dearest because they share very many genes in common with you! On the contrary, having such close genetic affinity was often a one-way ticket leading to early extirpation, however innocent you were of any rivalry or pretensions with regard to replacing the ruling person and dynasty.
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on 21 May 2014
This was a interesting book. If, like me, you have been a faithful Richardian for decades, this book does fill in some 'blanks'. I still can't work out how Richard could have lost Bosworth, even with the traitorous Stanleys and Northumberland. He had a far superior force. But, as we all know, he did lose. I was enlightened to learn that Henry VII actually did set up a monument for Richard - but thank goodness he didn't have his bones put into the tomb. No matter how many times I have to read the way Richard's body was treated post mortem, and it was nothing out of the ordinary - I still can not fathom how Henry could have treated a King's body this way, but then I am writing in the 21st century and not the 15th!!! I loved the DNA facts, although I had to read them several times, because it did get a bit confusing to a mere, ordinary person.
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on 31 December 2013
I really enjoyed this informative and detailed book by John Ashdown - Hill, one of those responsible for locating the mortal remains of the much maligned Richard III. It's a shame that Richard will also be tagged " The King in the car park ", but at least he HAS been found, as I had believed his remains had been thrown into the River Soar. My hope for 2014 is that common sense prevails and that he is finally laid to rest at a CATHOLIC site, to reflect his faith.
I read the kindle version of this book, which does rather detract from it, I feel, as there are many references, and illustrations which are either confusing,, or lost altogether when reading it on the ordinary kindle. But I still enjoyed it immensely, and make NO mistake this is a great book for Ricardians - informative, enlightening and well written. Thank you, John Ashdown - Hill.
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on 14 September 2015
This is an excellent account of what the title says, Richard III from a different angle than usual. The author's style is easy to read yet obviously scholarly, the chapters are quite short and there are copious notes & references to historical documents & the author's other biographical works. This is an excellent read for those interested in the often-maligned King, by a historian who writes a balanced account but refers to Henry 'Tudor' throughout. While reading the book I felt I was getting closer to him and his world, and learning about his daily life during the last few months, as the author says 'without hindsight'. I personally have always been on Richard's side, and this book did nothing to change my mind; I recommend it.
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on 12 May 2013
I was glued to reading this having read a book about King Richard called 'who would be king' which covers his childhood based upon written records. Having watched King Richard's bones being found in Leicester and being a staunch Ricardian for years, this book was very much appreciated. I am reading a different one at present called a Maligned King. It is about time others realised that the Princes were killed by Henry Tudor's orders, not King Richard.....

This book is worth reading just to put things in order. Being based upon details from the time and not based upon either Shakespeare or Thomas More's information which was passed on to them from someone who was a supporter of Henry VII stating what that king wanted him to.
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on 4 February 2014
I sent for the latest book recently about the King in the Car Park, having watched the fascinating tv documentary, and then also sent for the DVD about the discovery, and was hooked on such an amazing story. So I sent for this book too. A very thorough and readable account of Richard's way of life and times, and of his last days before the final tragic denouement. And afterwards too, tracing the authenticity of the bones discovered in Leicester. Very absorbing account, with illustrations and genealogy, and thorough notes and bibliography. I've become quite a Ricardian after reading such good books!
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on 18 October 2013
This is a well researched but easy to read book. It gives you the facts about Richard lll and presents a complete picture of the man who history has re-written about. The author does have his own point of view and there are times when this prevails in the book, however this is the most factual book on the subject I have read to date. The information on the DNA was very well written and although at times it goes into great detail and is a bit long in the presentation it is well worth reading. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a first overall view of Richard lll.
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on 28 February 2014
I have always been interested in Richard III, and am a member of the Richard III society, and like many others, keenly followed the search for Richard III's grave. But if you want to know where it all began and the breakthroughs that made the search a success then this is the book to read. It is a very well written book, and dare I say adheres to the scientific method of not declaring things to be fact but clearly states what is known without hyperbole and the best thing is that it is really entertaining.

The most fascinating aspect of this work, is that it was published in 2012, a year before the actual dig began that discovered the grave and Richard's bones. And here we see the scientific method at work - all of John's research allowed him to predict the outcome of dig insofar as the location and the fact that there would be no stone sarcophagus.

Buy it if you can get a copy of it. Copies are hard to find!
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on 2 January 2014
I bought this book from Amazon and find it to be somewhere between an interesting read and a bit of a learned tome.
You have to stick at it and gradually it becomes absorbing. Lots of facts you did not know about customs and rules of the time governing Richard's life and how families intertwined not just in Britain but across Europe. The DNA section is fascinating to the lay man and reveals how the geneology was traced down the years. I really feel I have got to know poor Richard a bit and see him in a different light.
Just one maddening gripe. Why oh why is the text print so small?. To read this book in bed requires 20/20 vision and candle power equivalent to the Edistone Lighthouse. Surely it could have been printed with standard text size like any other book. I found this aspect of the book a bit frustrating.
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on 7 March 2016
Nothing wrong with the content - my problem is with THE SIZE OF THE TEXT. It is so small, I find it very difficult to read. This seems to be a growing trend with academic books. I would rather pay more to have books with 'normal' size text.
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