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Paperback The Seventh Son Book

ISBN: 0747268495

ISBN13: 9780747268499

The Seventh Son

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. A superb historical novel about Richard III, the notorious hunchback king whose burial site was recently uncovered, which will appeal to fans of Josephine Tey's THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, Philippa...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

A different, albeit refreshing look at Richard III

How nice to have a novel with a realistic, well rounded Richard instead of the pure and saintly one we're always finding in the latest and *cough* greatest historical novels. Tannahill begins her novel in 1471 as Richard is planning to marry Anne Neville and recounts his life until that fateful day at Bosworth. Most of this is known history and enough reviewers have recounted what's covered in the book I needn't rehash it again. As noted earlier, what I most enjoyed was the more life-like Richard - although depicted as an honorable man he was still very much a man of his times and ruthless when he needed to be. I really enjoyed how the relationship between Richard and Anne slowly developed during their marriage, instead of the pure as the driven snow instantaneous true love we're always seeing these days. Outside of Francis, none of the other main players are as fully developed as you might find in some other novels on this period, but at the same time you're not getting all black and white - everyone has their shades of gray - even Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville - a very refreshing change. All in all I found this to be a very enjoyable read, although Tannahill's dry wit and sarcasm may not appeal to all readers. Still tops with me for books on Richard III is still Sharon Kay Penman's fabulous The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III, but it's always fun to read another author's take on the always enigmatic Richard and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower. Four stars.

A good read about a controversial king

Richard III is a figure without whom historical novelists would surely be lost. I'm happy to report I enjoyed this novel better than most about this king. Tannahill's novel picks up shortly after the battle of Tewkesbury, with Richard and his brother George fighting over the Warwick inheritance, and ends at Bosworth. It's written in a sardonic, somewhat emotionally detached style that may be off-putting to some readers but which I liked. Richard III is portrayed by Tannahill as neither a villain nor a saint, but something in between--in other words, as a fallible human being. He marries Anne for her lands, not for love, but he's a faithful husband who eventually comes to love his wife and is devastated by her death. Though he governs fairly, he has a ruthless streak and has no qualms about taking the lands of the Countess of Oxford or about his mother-in-law's dispossession. He makes mistakes: Richard's act of executing Hastings without trial on very flimsy grounds engenders distrust and hostility that haunt Richard throughout his reign, ultimately leading to his defeat at Bosworth. Anne Neville is attractively portrayed as a resilient young woman with a backbone and opinions of her own. The episode where she works as a kitchen maid, pure melodrama in the hands of some novelists, is almost farcical here--Anne, seeing Richard come to rescue her, does not swoon or burst into tears of relief, but tidies her hair. She has a sense of humor, which Richard does not always appreciate. ("'Two more bastards?'" she asks when Richard, having already invited his out-of-wedlock children to spend Christmas at court, proposes to invite his nieces as well.) Her death scene is moving without being maudlin. The Woodvilles are their usual villainous selves, but at least they're villains with a sense of style. ("'Dear me. I will have to think of something else,'" says Elizabeth Woodville when Richard tells her he always checks his food for poison.) With a few exceptions, such as Richard's friend Francis Lovell, a major character with a well developed personality, most of the other characters are sketched in, but they're vivid sketches. I liked this sentence in particular, uttered by Edward IV's womanizing friend about Jane Shore: "'Lovely woman,' sighed Lord Hastings, doggy-eyed." For those of us who like author's notes, Tannahill provides a long one, including a section on further reading.
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