Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill "the Princes in the Tower," as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? In ...Read MoreDespite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain one of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill "the Princes in the Tower," as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? In this utterly absorbing and meticulously researched book, English writer Alison Weir, an authority on the history of the British royal family, at last provides a conclusive solution to this age-old puzzle. Carefully examining every shred of contemporary evidence as well as the dozens of modern accounts, Weir reconstructs the entire chain of events leading to the double murder. In The Princes in the Tower we are witnesses to the tumultuous reign of Edward IV, the princes' powerful, handsome, promiscuous father. We see the unfolding rivalry between the Wydvilles, the common family of Edward's shrewd queen, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, his ambitious brother. And finally we are swept up in the vortex of intrigue that followed Edward's death - the naming of his twelve-year-old son Edward as heir; Richard's swift arrival in London and his lightning strike for power; the imprisonment of the princes in the Tower of London; and the hushed-up murders that secured Richard's claim to the throne as Richard III. Weir considers in turn each of the prime suspects in the murder: the grasping, conspiratorial Duke of Buckingham; the shadowy Sir James Tyrell, Richard's trusted retainer; the possibility that the boys may have died of natural causes; and of course, Richard III himself, a complex man of charm and intelligence twisted by a ruthless ambition for power. More than an historical murder mystery, The Princes in the Tower is a richly detailed tapestry of English court life in the late fifteenth century - the bitter rivalries that exploded in the Wars of the Roses; the splendor and corruption of the royal family; the violence and treRead Less
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This was an all right book. It puts a nice spin on what probably happened to those boys. I would definitely have anyone who is interested in the Tudor dynasty read this book, as it gives you more information than other books do. I give it a 4 out of 5.
Apr 6, 2007
Great history, inconsistent advocacy...
Having read this author's the Wars of the Roses I was prompted to read another book and chose the Princes in the Tower. The former book is quite well written, base upon well researched, and evaluated source material. This too is the case for the best part of the Princes in the Tower, the subject of this review. Alison Weir clearly has a great knowledge of this period and informs the reader of which sources are most valid, and most likely to be of greatest value in veracity. However, the author gets into a bit of trouble of her own making when she leaves the statement of the facts as reported by the sources and begins to advocate a particular position, in this case that Richard III ordered the murder of young Edward V and his even younger brother, the Duke of York. Inconsistency is the major issue taken with this advocacy. On one hand she makes the case that Richard was responsible because it was widely rumored among the courts of Europe that indeed he was guilty. On the other, when those same rumors were bruited about Henry VII, she claims that this was mere propaganda (more about which below) to discomfit this latter monarch. She makes the case that people lived in fear of Richard III, that it was the case during this period that people irritated any prince under pain of death. Once again, however, we are lead to believe that the veracity of those writing during the nascent Tudor era were no longer subject to this inhibition. Finally, the author makes the totally outrageous claim that the most effective propaganda is that which is based upon fact (here again, it is based on fact when applied to Richard, mere malicious rumor when applied to Henry). I think that a student of any of the 20th Century dictators would find that contention misinformed at best, naive at worst.
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