Defenders of the pilloried Richard III have taken to the field of fiction in recent years, and here is a sound new entry, equal in quality and potency to Rosemary Jarman's We Speak No Treason (1971). Unlike Jarman's ardent Gloucester, Edwards' regent and king is stress-racked to near impotence; he has a severe honesty, and passion is accorded solely to the complexities and icy realities of a sovereign's service. Richard's seizure of his dead brother's sons and the throne, and his execution of traitors are the acts of a ruler sure of his trusts and priorities. Yet Richard is ""hideously vulnerable"" to deceit, to brutal reminders of a tragic childhood, and to his own blanketed rage. The relationship between King and Queen is fragile, tender, and moving, and the series of brief, efficient scenes concludes of course with the Armageddon at Bosworth Field, Richard's ""head ringed with fire."" Through her array of narrators high and low, Edwards manages a neutral yet period-influenced diction, and although this lacks Jarman's color, Edwards' Richard is all of a piece.