The King’s Grave is a history-making book which I had trouble putting down. The final hours of Richard III, England’s last Plantagenet king and her last king to die on the battlefield, are carefully reconstructed by historian Michael Jones. Richard’s life before his fateful meeting with Henry Tudor on Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485 is analyzed as well, accompanied by intense scrutiny of his personality and motives.
In addition to the historical narrative is Philippa Langley’s moving account of how she found King Richard buried under the car park in Leicester. Langley’s love for the King and her conviction of his innocence of the crimes of which he is so often accused add pathos to the story of the obstacles surmounted in her search for Richard. I was struck by the details about the past which literally surface in an archaeological dig, requiring a combined knowledge of history with forensic science in order to interpret them. Langley and Jones build a portrait of a man who was highly religious but shrewd in political matters; who loved justice but could be ruthless when the occasion demanded it; who put duty before personal feelings. Most of all, as a soldier his courage was praised even by his enemies, especially in his heroic stand on Bosworth Field.
(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the Historical Novel Society in exchange for my honest opinion.)