The Princes in the Tower

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The Princes in the Tower
Author: Weir, Alison
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Time Period: Renaissance
Time Frame: 1483-1485
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Great Britain
Topics: Tudors, Wars of the Roses
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography
Reading Age: Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 1995

World History > Renaissance > Wars of the Roses / Tudors

Despite 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. And 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.

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