FORTUNE'S WHEEL by Rhoda Edwards


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A straightened-up and right-flying King Richard III returns in this sequel to The Broken Sword (1976). Though lacking the agitated swirl and color of Rosemary Jarman's We Speak No Treason (1971), Edwards' historical fiction still coheres pleasantly, a mosaic of fact and legend that contributes some pastel subtleties of character. Highlighted here are the parallel travails of Richard, now Duke of Gloucester and brother of King Edward IV, and timid Anne, young daughter of the Earl of Warwick, the ""kingmaker"" who wars with Edward to re-establish sickly, saintly Henry VI on the throne of England. Richard and Anne accept the sour duties placed upon them with inward revulsion, fear, and sorrow. Richard, raised in Warwick's household, must never allow his affection for the Earl to deflect his sword hand in Edward's service--even when he must assassinate gentle Henry VI in the tower. Anne is married off to Henry VI's son (the union is a stalemate of pawns)--her new husband is killed in battle, followed by the death of her beloved father. To escape the shifty eye of calculating Clarence, Edward's other brother (who suspects she may be carrying Henry's grandchild), Anne flees for safety disguised as a cook's helper. The tale of her romantic rescue by Richard and their courtship is a grand old chestnut (far removed from the Bard's), but you won't mind a wind-blown tendril or two of sentiment in the midst of battle, politicking, and the death of kings. Overshadowed for drama and scholarship by the grand Jarman version, but distinctly appealing on its own cosier terms.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday