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Richard III

By Desmond Seward

Shakespeare’s Richard III was ‘determined to prove a villain’, but what was the true nature of England’s final Plantagenet King?

With the victory of Henry Tudor, the usurping dynasty made an effort to besmirch the last Plantagenet’s reputation. And some historians claim that Richard’s “black legend” is nothing more than political propaganda. Yet such an interpretation, as Desmond Seward shows in this powerfully argued book, suggests a refusal to face the facts of history.

Even in the king’s lifetime there were rumours about his involvement in the murders of Henry VI and of his nephews, the “Princes in the Tower,” while his reign was considered by many to be a nightmare, not least for the king himself. The real Richard III was both a chilling and compelling monarch, a peculiarly grim young English precursor of Machiavelli’s Prince.

Sweeping aside sentimental fantasy, this is a colourful, authoritative biography that offers a definitive picture of both the age and the man.

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