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Prominent entertainment attorney Bertram Fields uses his legal expertise to analyze the life and times of Richard III in Royal Blood, shining a light on that most ambiguous and important period of English history, the years of the 15th century between the War of the Roses and Richard's bloody death at Bosworth Field. Rebuking traditional historians who have immortalized Richard as the treacherous usurper--the vile mastermind behind the deaths of his brother, nephews, and friends--as well as revisionists who treat him as the courageous victim of treasonous allies and Tudor power, Fields cross-examined all the earliest accounts, including Thomas More's history (which would serve as the basis for Shakespeare's play), exposing the geographical, political, and cultural influences that have shaped previous interpretations of Richard's career.
Among the many surprises is Fields's suggestion that Richard did not commit what is widely understood to be his most atrocious crime: the murder of his nephews, the Woodville Princes. With a lawyer's zeal for establishing doubt, Fields boldly entertains several possibilities for the princes' fates, arguing that other powerful contestants for the English throne, like Richard's Tudor successor Henry VII, could have been responsible for the deaths of the boys--or that the infamous killing might not have even taken place. Fields also speculates on what might have happened had Richard not become king. Would England have remained Catholic? Could the First World War have been prevented? Such conjectures may raise an eyebrow--they are as delightfully provocative as the rest of Royal Blood. --James Highfill [via]