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The Princes in the Tower

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  5,222 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews
Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain two of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill “the Princes in the Tower,” as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely?

Carefully examining every shred
Paperback, 287 pages
Published July 10th 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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Karen Have you read the fiction by Josephine Tey? Title is: The Daughter of Time. I have read it several times. It is about a detective with a broken leg…moreHave you read the fiction by Josephine Tey? Title is: The Daughter of Time. I have read it several times. It is about a detective with a broken leg who is bored. He starts investigating Richard III to alleviate the boredom. The plot follows his research. Also the characters are interseting and fun.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 14, 2009 Lucy rated it liked it
This is my favorite book to mutter angrily at. I actually told my library that I lost it and paid for it so I could keep the copy I had scribbled angry comments in the margins.

That said, it's an excellent overview of the historical scenario of the time--it's very readable, if a bit pulpy. Unfortunately, Weir did not go into writing this book with an open mind--she went in condemning Richard, and it shows.

I read this right after reading Josephine Tey's excellent and eye-opening The Daughter of Ti
Sep 28, 2016 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love history and I love mysteries so it was only a matter of time before I read more about The Princes in the Tower - especially considering that Brad and I covered the first part of The Wars of the Roses (WOTR) in August.

For anyone wanting to read this: yes, there might be a few facts I'm going to state that could be considered spoilers. Only read the review if you don't mind.

As in her first book about the WOTR, this author shows a lot of skill and diligence in collecting data and quoting sou
In the Author's Preface that introduces this book, Weir states, "We are dealing here with facts, not just speculation or theories, which I have tried very hard to avoid." This is quickly followed by the first sentence of the first chapter, which reads, "Modern writers on the subject of the Princes in the Tower have tended to fall into two categories: those who believe Richard III guilty of the murder of the Princes but are afraid to commit themselves to any confident conclusions, and those who w ...more
May 23, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: european history geeks
This book focuses around the short lives and mysterious death of the two sons of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. (Who, as a fun little anecdote, Edward IV threatened at knifepoint to get her to marry him. In any case.) They were declared illegitimate after Richard III took power, and imprisoned in the Tower of London and were never seen again. Richard III supposedly had them murdered within a year of this time. Alison Weir does clearly have a bias against Richard, but I think that the bias is ...more
Melisende d'Outremer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm going to make a couple disclaimers right now:

If you think that Richard III is the best most misunderstood man to ever exist; that he never did anything wrong, never had any ambition, and was most definitely not capable of violence or infidelity; this book is not for you. Move on. Open another screen. Re-read "The Sunne in Splendour" for the fiftieth time (because I've heard that one is rather sympathetic, if fictional).

Furthermore, I should probably add that although I share her opinion of R
Pete daPixie
Having read the Bertram Fields 'Royal Blood' investigation into this fifteenth century murder mystery, I travelled back in time to examine Alison Weir's 1992 publication of 'The Princes in the Tower.' Of the two, I have to go with Weir's verdict and pronounce Dick III guilty. Here was a coup, perhaps with Buckingham's help among others, but with Richard's hands all over it. Bloody hands too at Stony Stratford. All these dark deeds undertaken on his watch. No surprise he had trouble sleeping at n ...more
Mar 10, 2009 Liisa rated it it was ok
This is the 3rd Alison Weir book I've read, and the 2nd that wasn't all that.

I agree with some of the other reviewers that Weir began the book with the assumption that Richard did indeed have his nephews killed. And I also agree that this lack of objectivity finds its way into her writing.

That said, I also think Richard is guilty of his nephews' murder. I don't know that he had any choice, given his situation. I'm not sure that his guilt makes him any worse a person than Margaret of Anjou, who l
Jun 27, 2011 Orsolya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Princes in the Tower (these would be Edward V and brother Richard-- sons of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville); is a fascinating and unsolved mystery (cue Robert Stack) which hundreds of years later, STILL raises eyebrows, bogs some minds, and interests history and non-history buffs alike.

The desperately unlikable usurper Richard III, who does have a claim to the throne as a decendent of Richard, Duke of York who descends from both Lionel (Duke of Clarence) and Edmund (Duke of York) wh
Mike Dixon
Nov 12, 2013 Mike Dixon rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for an action-packed novel with heroes and heroines don't read this book. If you are a fan of Richard III and believe he was the victim of malicious lies then you probably won't like it either. But, if you are intrigued by how historians can piece together the past then I would recommend it.
Alison Weir examines the rapidly evolving events following the death of Edward IV, in March 1483, to Richard's coronation three months later. She marshals an impressive body of information
Apr 10, 2013 Shelly rated it it was ok
Alison Weir sets out to make the case that Richard III murdered the princes in the tower, his nephews Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. It's clear from the start that she despises Richard and she views all evidence in light of how it might show his guilt. While I don't disagree with the idea that he was the most likely person to have ordered the murder of the princes, what I found most convincing was something she hinted at but never really explored in her narrative (because she was too busy h ...more
Aug 13, 2011 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Medievalist Alison Weir sets her sights on one of history's most controversial mysteries with this volume. At the conclusion of the Wars of the Roses in England, everyone thought that things would settle down. The House of York had defeated the House of Lancaster and seemed firmly in control of the country with Edward IV ruling. The only problem is that Edward dies with his two sons Edward and Richard in the minority (ages 12 and 10).

Edward's brother Richard definitely was loyal during the civil
Apr 12, 2016 Matt rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, 2013-reads
I have read Alison Weir before, her biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her overview history of The Wars of the Roses, and have found her enjoyable. However, I was disappointed less than 30 pages into this book and it never improved. I read Princes in the Tower to contrast a biography of Richard III by Paul Murray Kendall, unfortunately instead of well thought out case for Richard III has the murderer of the Princes, I got Sir Thomas More 2.0 and arch villain of Shakespeare.

I give credit to We
Ana Mardoll
Oct 17, 2013 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
The Princes in the Tower / B007I5QO50

I am very fond of Alison Weir's histories, and have an interest in the Princes in the Tower, so I expected to enjoy this historical account, even knowing that it is several years old now (and now somewhat out of date since Richard III's bones have been disinterred from the car park). Having read this book twice -- both before and after the disinterment -- I am perfectly satisfied that it lives up to Weir's tradition of excellent writing and engrossing scholar
From the start, Weir states that she believes that Richard III is guilty. I've actually always thought this, based on the evidence, but Weir seems to go above and beyond. Other reviewers have said that she's quite biased against Richard, and though I don't disagree, I still feel that she has some valid points.

One issue I had with the book, though, is that it kind of reminded me of a History Channel or Discovery Channel special where they advertise it as finally solving a certain mystery, such a
May 24, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was an enjoyable read, the topic fascinating, but I also found it very frustrating for the first half of the text. The arguments were sloppily constructed and not nearly as convincing as Weir kept telling us they were. By the end of the book, I felt her arguments were more grounded and convincing as she added in later evidence, but the overall construction of the book and the fleshing out of the argument seemed poorly organized and therefore came across as much less convincing to me as ...more
Lynne Stringer
I enjoyed Weir's book and found the arguments she put forward to demonstrate that Richard III was indeed responsible for the death of the princes was well presented and convincing, although I haven't heard an alternate argument. Still, I think it's most likely he was responsible, since he had motive and opportunity.
Aug 07, 2014 Renee rated it it was amazing
Before and while I read this book, I read some of the negative reviews people posted. I read them out of curiosity more than anything else since this is not the first of Weir's books I've read and I know that I immensely enjoy her writing and insight.

One of the most common criticisms of the book is that people were hoping to read an objective account and that Weir was biased from the beginning. I'm not arguing her bias in the book itself, but I wonder if these people all skipped over the first c
Katherine Gilraine
Feb 22, 2013 Katherine Gilraine rated it it was ok
Weir presents her evidence, but while she promised to examine it objectively, it's clear as soon as she begins on Richard's accession to the throne that she firmly believes him to be guilty. That is nowhere near objective, first of all, and secondly, she glosses over that Richard and John Morton had a falling-out over the war in France. Human nature is human nature, and if John Morton was keeping a grudge, then I severely doubt he'd tell Thomas More an impartial account of Richard's court.

May 10, 2011 Erik rated it really liked it
I’m clearly a fan of Weir as both an historian and a writer of historical fiction. And I was no less impressed with her research behind the murder of Edward IV’s two young sons, Edward V and Richard, the Duke of York, at the hands of Richard III – who usurped the English throne during the tumultuous years now referred to as the War of the Roses.

Although there is certainly no surprise that Weir reaches her verdict that Richard is solely responsible for ordering the two princes deaths while locke
Jan 19, 2014 lia rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I'm of two minds on ALison Weir's The Princes in the Tower. At first it was good, and descriptive. Weir explains her sources and chronologically guides us to what happened with the young princes. It means that we can get a good details of Edward IV and his reign and Richard III when he was still duke of Gloucester.

But it dwindled after that. It was like Weir was having personal vendetta against him. She passionately pointing out in every imaginable ways why we have to think Richard III is the m
Keith Akers
Dec 22, 2014 Keith Akers rated it really liked it
Good, solid analysis of the historical data, and very convincing to me. I read this book after we saw the DVD version of the TV series "The White Queen." Let's just say that the perspective in Weir's book about "who did it" is much different from that in the TV series. This doesn't totally invalidate the TV series; it's entertaining and the basic outline of events is the same, though with some key differences of detail.

What really convinced me was all the circumstantial evidence and the interlo
Sep 10, 2016 Kristy rated it really liked it
Weir sets out to review all the available evidence on the fate of the two Yorkist prices (Edward V and his brother, Richard) who went into the Tower of London during the rule of their uncle, Richard III, and were never seen again. Weir is staunchly in the "Richard did it" camp and deftly brings together centuries of documentation, interpretation, and research to bolster her claim. I liked that she didn't go 100% Shakespeare and claim that Richard was evil or necessarily more scheming than anyone ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Feb 12, 2016 Stephen McQuiggan rated it liked it
If you're looking for a balanced weighing up of the facts you've come to the wrong place - Weir seeks to cement the 'black legend' as fact once and for all, and all manner of evidence is bent and shaped to that purpose. In itself that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Weir has a habit of making sweeping assumptions (despite her disclaimer to the contrary) on the motivations of key characters that she couldn't possibly justify. It may well be that old Diccon was guilty but I would've liked a lit ...more
In the late 15th century in England, two heirs to the throne, Edward IV's sons, disappeared after having been kept in the Tower (supposedly for their protection) by Edward's brother, Richard III, who had taken the throne for himself. Most think that the boys were murdered by Richard. Weir agrees and goes through what she thinks (mostly based on contemporary/primary sources) happened.

The preface, with a summary, pulled me in right away. But then, with a lot of background information needed and “
Written before her excellent book on the Wars of the Roses, The Princes in the Tower deals with the latter end of the conflict from the death of Edward IV onwards, as Alison Weir lays out a convincing argument for Richard III being the murderer of the Princes as well as the doer of many other dastardly deeds, therefore prompting the conflict with the Tudors that spelt the end of the sorry saga of the Yorks and Lancasters.

Despite having previously been staunchly loyal to his brother, Edward IV, R
Dec 31, 2014 oleeleeo rated it it was amazing
Revisionists, beware! Oh, those are the people who think Richard lll was not responsible for ordering the deaths of his two nephews. Those people are like crazy cultists to me, delusional and desperately not wanting their strange little pet Tricky Dick to have his name sullied.

Weir clearly is not a revisionist and she sets about to present the outstanding evidence in a methodical, cogently written book.

This subject has always pulled at my heartstrings and apparently it upset even the most hard
Regina Lindsey
The Princes in the Tower by Allison Weir
4 Stars

One of the most contentious mysteries debated among history lovers is who what was the fate of young Edward V and his brother, Richard. Were they murdered? And, if so, by whom?

Upon Edward IV's death, his brother, Richard III, took custody of his nephews, one of whom had just inherited the throne. The children were placed in the Tower of London under the auspices of awaiting Edward V's coronation. However, they ultimately vanished and Richard III se
This book is a hypothesis of the fate of Edward V and his brother Richard, who were 10 and 12 when they were shepherded into the Tower of London and never seen alive again.

Did their uncle, Richard III, have them killed? Was it Henry VII? Alison Weir's book is a thorough, well-researched body of evidence that definitely points to one person.

The book was scholar-dry to read, but you can't argue the research and objectivity behind it. Weir takes extreme pains to gauge the veracity of sources quote
Erik Graff
Jan 20, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Having read Tey's famous novel, I thought reading a contrary account by an historian would be adviseable. Besides, knowing a bit about the Tudors from Henry VIII through Elizabeth, I wanted to learn more about the first Tudor king, Henry VII. Finally, having seen Shakespeare's Richard III, I wanted to be able to compare his representation of the monarch with the historical evidence.
Weir certainly gives the appearance of being on top of the material, such as it is, regarding the reign of Richard
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her
More about Alison Weir...

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