Wednesday, 12 December 2007

To The Tower Born by Robin Maxwell

This is a fictional account of the famous story of what happened to the princes in the Tower. With the sudden death of King Henry, the first in the Tudor line, and the ascension of his eldest son, 13-year-old Prince Edward, insidious power plays and conspiracies roil England. Before young Edward V can be crowned, Lord Hastings and Harry Buckingham lose their heads and the Duke of Gloucester connives to become Richard III. In the midst of the struggle, the two princes are abducted.

The sad story of the Princes is seen through the eyes of Nell Caxton, daughter of William Caxton, and Elizabeth (Bessie), oldest daughter of King Edward IV and is told as narrated to Bessie's son, Henry, who was to become Henry VIII. Nell was Henry's Godmother.

I think most of us know the story of the lost princes, and probably have our own idea of what may have happened, and I guess we will never fully know, as a murder mystery this is a great book but, as a historical fiction (and a big fan of historical fiction) this book was sadly lacking.

I didn't get a great deal of feel for the time period, and whilst historical fiction does not always have to be entirely true (hence the word fiction I guess!) there were just some parts that just didn't seem right.

I do find with some historical fiction of era's I am not too familiar with that I don't like them as much as era's I am familiar with and because I do not know a huge amount what happened other than the basic facts I think possibly that could be another reason why I wasn't too enthralled with this. It would probably have been better if I had read a factual book on this first, so will probably read Alison Weir's account and read this again some day.


Marg said...

I was really disappointed with this one as well!

Daphne said...

Me three. There wasn't much to it other than a bunch of dialogue. In addition to little historical setting, there was no character development and I found the whole thing rather boring. I will have to admit to being intrigued as to "who done it" even if it was a little far-fetched.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Me four! I found the characterization to be black-or-white and much of the action to be implausible--Nell gets not one job usually reserved for men, but two, and no one so much as blinks! Bessie speaks to her mother like a modern teenager would, and all of the sympathetic characters are horrified at the idea of arranged marriages. And much of the dialogue is ridiculous, as characters are forced to tell each other things they should already know in order to give that information to the reader. (My favorite was when someone tells Elizabeth Woodville who Bishop Stillington is.)

I'd recommend A. J. Pollard's The Princes in the Tower for a good nonfiction book on the subject.

Clare said...

Glad it wasn't just me! Thanks for the recommendation Susan, will look that one up.