The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds [Philippa Langely, Michael Jones]
I got a copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, for review
It is said that history is written by the victors. The character assassination of Richard III after his death at Bosworth by the Tudor family offers a clear case of history being changed by the victors. The Tudor family, starting with Henry VII, made Richard into a villain who took the throne from his own nephew, murdering anyone who stood in his way to the throne.
This book offers a very different view of Richard, showing him in the context of the world he lived in and showing him to be a man of deep convictions and courage. Neither author has tried to make him an innocent saint; however, he made mistakes, but he's also not the villain that the Tudor family claimed him to be and that is shown in William Shakespeare's Richard III.
The King's Grave really tells two very different stories: the history of Richard III and the search for his grave, which was started by Philippa Langley. The chapters go back and forth between the present and the past. It was a little confusing at first, but it make perfect sense after I started getting into the book. Both parts are well written, but I liked the modern parts better, moreso because I've read several history books from that deal with this timeframe and most of the information wasn't new to me (although the lens it was viewed through was, since the other books are more Tudor focused)
One of the things that Richard has been painted a villain for is the mysterious disappearance of his nephews from the tower. The authors of this book don't deny that Richard most likely had something to do with their disappearance. There is no way to know what really happened to the Princes in the Tower, but they were likely dead before the end of Richard's reign.
The other thing that Richard did that is often seen in a bad light was taking the throne of England when his nephew was next in line to be king. The official story was that Edward IV had been contracted to another woman at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, making their children bastards. The unofficial story is that Edward himself was a bastard child and not the son of Richard, Duke of York at all. Richard was made aware of this but choose to use Edward's contract with another woman as the reason he became King instead of Prince Edward. He could have released both pieces of information, but that would have hurt his own mother as well.