Thursday, November 27, 2014
CreateSpace, March 2014
About the Book
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the “Kingmaker”, is the wealthiest noble in England. He becomes a warrior knight, bravely protecting the north against invasion by the Scots. A key figure in what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, he fought in most of the important battles. As Captain of Calais, he turns privateer, daring to take on the might of the Spanish fleet and becoming Admiral of England. The friend of kings, he is the sworn enemy of Queen Margaret of Anjou. Then, in an amazing change of heart, why does he risk everything to fight for her cause?
Writers from William Shakespeare to best-selling modern authors have tried to show what sort of man Richard Neville must have been, with quite different results. Sometimes Warwick is portrayed as the skilled political manipulator behind the throne, shaping events for his own advantage. Others describe him as the “last of the barons”, ruling his fiefdom like an uncrowned king. Whatever the truth, his story is one of adventure, power and influence at the heart of one of the most dangerous times in the history of England.
Riches provides incredible detail into Warwick’s life, including the relationship between Richard and his brothers John and George, each of whom vacillated between loyalty to Richard and loyalty to their sworn king, Edward IV. We also get a glimpse into Warwick’s private life and his relationship with his parents and the illegitimate daughter who, Riches suggests, was the ancestress of Fletcher Christian of the Bounty.
This story is rich in detail, conflict, and history. The relationships described here give us a better idea of the man Warwick was than most stories provide. This story is told with a more masculine audience in mind, action over emotions. But as a female reader, I am most interested in what drove Warwick to slander his own aunt by suggesting Edward IV’s illegitimacy? Was it only revenge that drove him to kill Earl Rivers and his son? Why did he risk his daughter Isabel’s life, crossing the channel with the king’s men in pursuit? Was it simple pride on Warwick’s part? Desperation? Greed? Revenge?
These are what has made him one of history’s most infamous villains. That’s what I think readers like myself are most anxious to see—to jump into Warwick’s head and get the complex motivations behind those very questions. Here Warwick is portrayed as an intelligent, feeling man, so a glimpse into what made him tick would have made this all the more powerful.
I think this is a strong fictionalized biography of one man’s life, with an emphasis on his military exploits. But a peek into some of his inner most thoughts, struggles, and the reasoning behind his actions would have made it even stronger, at least from a female reader’s perspective.
I received a complimentary copy from Mr. Riches in exchange for an honest review.
Rebecca Henderson Palmer