Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Trail of Blood

Set during the reign of Henry VIII, this is a story that seeks to explain the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. The two princes, Edward and Richard, went to live in the Tower of London when their father, Edward IV, died. For whatever reason the crowning of their uncle as regent was postponed. Finally the uncle was crowned Richard III. His Tudor successors later claimed that he had murdered the princes in order to ascend to the throne. There has never been any conclusive proof regarding what happened to the two princes.

This novel claims that the reason the coronation of Richard as regent was postponed was because the two princes (and consequently their sister, the mother of Henry VIII) were found to be illegitimate. Richard III kept the boys in the Tower to protect them, as he had sworn to do. The story explains why they felt the need to escape and how Edward was killed in the attempt. The rest of the novel is spent uncovering the movement and final location (really quite obvious from the beginning) of Richard, Duke of York.

The aim of the protagonists is to unearth a Yorkist claimant to the throne, ostensibly to succeed Henry VIII (who had no son at the time) but really to put an end to the Reformation and what they saw as a corrupt regime with dubious claims to royalty. The aim of the author is to solve the mystery in as plausible a manner as possible. I think he succeeds, though some of the events and coincidences are a little far-fetched. I'm interested in finding more by the author, particularly the non-fiction related to this period.

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