The Princes in the Tower

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Ballantine, 1992 - 287 pages
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1espite 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. 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 treachery that coexisted with exquisite beauty and refinement. At the very center of that tapestry is the tragic image of two pale, innocent, bewildered boys, an image that has haunted our minds for half a millennium. Powerfully written, persuasively argued, and totally mesmerizing to read, The Princes in the Tower is at once a masterpiece of historical research and a riveting story of conspiracy, murder, and deception.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - walterhistory - LibraryThing

For years, the reading public learned from Shakespeare's Richard III about the murder of 2 young princes. Ms Weir goes on a search for other sources to see what they had to say about what happened to ... Read full review

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User Review  - PollyMoore3 - LibraryThing

We now know that Richard did indeed suffer from scoliosis in his spine, and that his body remained at the Greyfriars in Leicester until rediscovered in 2012. But we still don't conclusively know ... Read full review


Richard III and the Chroniclers
The Sanctuary Child
Richard of Gloucester

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About the author (1992)

Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley, and several other historical biographies. She lives in Surrey with her husband and two children.

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