Ikonopeiston's Reviews > To the Tower Born: A Novel of the Lost Princes

To the Tower Born by Robin Maxwell
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Dec 26, 08

it was ok
bookshelves: kindle, ricardian
Read in December, 2008

It is very unlikely that I would have bought this book had it not been available in a Kindle edition. The combination of low price and convenience led me to take the chance and so I have read it. The most positive thing I can find to say is that it is, at least, not one of those dreadful historical bodice-ripping romances. Aside from that, I found nothing of value or revelation in these pages.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I am currently immersed in historical and biographical fact and have little patience with easily corrected errors. Ms. Maxwell simply did not do her homework. Her research seems to have consisted of a quick glance at one of her old schoolbooks. I quickly lost count of the obviously incorrect statements she made although one continually occurring error was particularly annoying. She kept using "Majesty" as a title for the Plantagenet royalty who were content with a simple "Your Grace" as their address. It was the jumped up insecure Tudors who insisted on being called "Your Majesty." There are any number of other tone-deaf usages in the story. Even in her Author's Note there is evidence of unseemly haste; she completely misunderstood Tey's point in The Daughter of Time. To a Ricardian, there is hardly any greater sin.

She did resist the impulse to make Richard a black-hearted villain even though she made him a weak, whinging, easily led idiot. And she did accurately depict Buckingham as Richard's bad angel. Her solution to the fate of the sons of Edward IV is unusual but hardly convincing. There is no feel for the fifteenth century here and no explanation for most of the leaps of logic she makes. Why was Edward V so attached to his uncle Clarence? What was the truth of the execution of Hastings? Was it done in a rush or a week after his arrest? Was Stillington a frail, frightened priest concerned for his soul and the good of England or a sturdy plotter in his own right? Did Margaret of Burgundy really dislike her brother Richard? Where is the evidence? Indeed, this is a girls' adventure story and is totally unworthy to be shelved with historical novels. It will do to pass an idle afternoon; it is an easy read. But it is a shabby attempt to explain the mystery supposedly at the heart of her story. It is as shabby as Henry VII and as dishonest.
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message 1: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit Thankfully the library has this one when I'm ready to read it, and not looking at it as a serious historical. Good thing, I think the "your majesty" bit would drive me nuts also.

Once you've read Penman it's hard to find anything else that comes close, although I keep looking.


Ikonopeiston Treason by Meredith Whitford isn't 'arf bad. Whitford is no Penman but he/she does give us an interesting image of the young Richard in particular. He is not the Puritanical man of his later years (later years? The poor darling didn't live to have any later years!) but is a lusty youth with a distinct flair for life. The only part I hated was the occasional appearance of anachronistic Aussie slang. Still, it is better than most. Not sticky, if you know what I mean.



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