CAST OF RAVENS: The Strange Case of Sir Thomas Overbury by Beatrice White

CAST OF RAVENS: The Strange Case of Sir Thomas Overbury

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KIRKUS REVIEW

King James ran an openly homosexual court. He had his successive favorites and one was a beautiful, rather dull young Scot named Robert Carr. Carr, on the evidence, was bouncily bi-sexual, addicted to the ladies while attractive to the king. Carr's possessively close advisor was Sir Thomas Overbury. Overbury, on the author's guess, was the more compleat homosexual. When Carr married Frances Howard, Overbury's snit proved that hell hath no fury like an invert scorned. Carr's bride was one of the powerful Howard clan and in order to marry Carr she had obtained, through her family's connivance, a scandalous divorce on the grounds of being virgo intacta. Overbury was one of the many people who knew she was virgo in tatters from more than one princeling. He was not bright enough to take it quietly, so Carr engineered him into the Tower. There, Overbury shrilled, sickened and died. Frances Howard had employed poisoners, Carr may have, and the death might have been hushed up and brushed over except for the fact that Carr lost standing with James. The enemies Carr had made during his ascendancy came sharking in and Carr, together with his wife, was viciously prosecuted by the ambitious, self-serving Coke, escaping conviction on a technicality while publicly held to be guilty. This is something more than the typical fare of trial buff readers and will demand more of them. The remarkable intrigues of Sodom-on-the-Thames are traced with erudition and wit. The impressive trappings of the author's scholarship are tactfully appended in charts, notes and a selective bibliography.

Publisher: Braziller