ROYAL BLOOD by Bertram Fields

ROYAL BLOOD

Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A leading entertainment lawyer attempts to solve the historical mystery of what became of the two young princes who were kept in the Tower of London during the reign of King Richard III. Were they murdered or did they escape to safety? Fields applies the standards of a modern court of law to the evidence from events of more than 500 years ago. Gaining control of England in the 15th century demanded the (often unprincipled) exercise of power more than it did legal claim. Fields draws few sure conclusions, since hard evidence is extremely difficult to obtain, but he makes excellent points along the way. Fields describes Richard as a brave military veteran and victor who yet had tolerance for dubious characters who might even haven been his secret enemies. He was said to have an excellent record for governance. Yet he is pictured as a murderer and a hunchback, with a withered arm and malformed feet. The author finds no evidence of these assertions by unreliable Tudor historians (who influenced Shakespeare as well as Thomas More) who held the ancient idea that a deformed body indicated an evil soul. Fields asks how a crippled warrior king could have held a spear, sword, or battle ax while also controlling a charging war horse? Ultimately, Richard was defeated by treacherous allies of the half-Welsh Henry Tudor and rebellious Scots, Welsh, and French at Bosworth Field, and he died bravely. As for his two nephew-princes, Fields argues that the weight of evidence is not sufficient to find Richard guilty of their murder. But the mystery of their fate remains unsolved, as no positive identification of bones exists. A thorough investigation of an age-old question, and though the historical record is not complete, Fields’s persuasive interpretations and arguments may change some opinions about Richard and his nephews— fate. (16 paages color illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-039269-X
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1998