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Ann Wroe
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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The story of Perkin Warbeck is one of the most compelling mysteries of English history. A young man suddenly emerged claiming to be Richard of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower. As such, he tormented Henry vii for eight years. He tried three times to invade England and behaved like a prince. Officially, however, he was proclaimed to be Perkin Warbeck, the son o ...more
Published (first published 2003)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  312 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Jerry Jr.
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was shocked the first time I found negative online reviews of this book. For all Wroe's rich command of detail, I thought the basic story "The Perfect Prince" told was compelling, the thinking and behavior of all the different historical figures well-explained, and the writing lyrical and moving (the passage about Perkin's passage into the afterlife at the end sent chills down my spine). And as many complaints as I have read about the book's digressions, I found them to be the best part. For i ...more

A fairly average read which was interesting in parts but struck me as somewhat fanciful in others. It's also not the most concise biography you will ever read, with the known facts about Perkin Warbeck seemingly taking up little space compared to the endless background information and author speculation.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Probably the best historical biography I've ever read, bar none, and the fact that it's about a figure as shadowy and mysterious as Perkin Warbeck/Richard, Duke of York only makes it more impressive. The book really brings the medieval world to life through Wroe's wonderful writing - she doesn't just write about what people did, what they ate, what they wore, but how they would have thought and felt. She never comes down to a side as to whether 'Perkin' really was the son of Edward IV or a boatm ...more
Abigail Hartman
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book was so clearly well researched, its prose so fluid and at times subtle and clever, that I feel guilty not having enjoyed it. I did for the first few chapters. I was fascinated by the way the author reconstructs the world around the central character and plot, like an artist recovering an old painting; the attention to details was brilliant, and the narrative draws out suggestions from the sources in a unique, thought-provoking way. For the first hundred or two hundred pages I was tenta ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It does help if you have a grounding in Tudor history before you read this book. Keep in mind, as other reviews have pointed out, it is not a linear narrative. It isn't really a biography, more like a close look at a time and the mystery that occured there. Wroe does not chose a side for her mystery. She, in fact, seems, to be doing her best just to present the mystery. She is far more interested in how Warbeck influenced by simply being those in power. Well wroth a read.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For people interested in the beginning of the Tudor dynasty in England (or interested in the demise of the Plantagenents), this is a very interesting book and not something that is generally mentioned in history books concerning those times.

No one knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower. When King Edward IV died, he had 2 young sons who were lodged in the Tower by their uncle who became Richard III. At the time, the Tower was not primarily a prison but one of the Royal residences, so the
Jamie Adair
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Perfect Prince is the story of Perkin Warbeck

Wroe brings out many intriguing details, such as, did you know that Warbeck and his wife lived in Henry VII's household after he was captured. This seems odd given he was a supposed traitor. Why not the tower or the scaffold?

Wroe's writing in some places is positively lyrical. She describes

While I realize many people hated this book, I still recommend it for anyone interested in Henry VII's reign or interested in, perhaps, Margaret of Burgundy.

Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High 5. This work is an excellent piece of historical research and detection, where the author unlocks many of the mysteries surrounding the emergence of the pretender to the throne, Perkin Warbeck. Wroe reveals that less than a week after placing his youngest nephew in the Tower in June 1483, Richard had their bloodline declared invalid due to the illegitimacy of their parents’ marriage. It was claimed that their father Edward IV had been contracted to marry another noblewoman before choosing a ...more
Another feigned lad. Così, con un tono che mi piace immaginare stanco, Enrico VII parlava del nuovo pretendente che, dieci anni dopo Lambert Simnel, era sbarcato in Inghilterra per riprendersi il trono. Nel 1497 erano passati dodici anni da Bosworth Field.
Simnel, che si fingeva Edward of Warwick (figlio del duca di Clarence che era in realtà tenuto sotto chiave nella Torre di Londra) venne sconfitto e potè apprezzare la magnanimità del re che, invece di giustiziarlo, lo spedì nelle cucine reali.
Kate Millin
I found this book quite dense and difficult to read for long periods (although some of that might have been the fact that I was unwell). The information about Perkin was interesting, but I felt there was a lot of padding about other things that were happening, or possibly happening that were not needed and which made following the main thread about Perking himself difficult to follow. The author also makes no conclusions about the truth of Perkins claims, but does seem quite balanced in her appr ...more
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I so badly wanted to love this book. The princes are far too fascinating to ever be considered a boring subject.

Unfortunately Wroe is simply not a great writer. Far too many suppositions, presuming what these people might have been thinking 500 years ago. I will say that when she is sticking to facts, I take far less issue with her writing. But when she meanders around and goes off the deep end for a few lines, no thank you.

You can't help but feel bad for this young man, whoever he might have be
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well-written book about a little-know part of British history. The standard (official) history says that Richard III had the two princes killed in the tower of London, and that the wars of the Roses left the Tudors firmly on the throne of England with no major dynastic concerns. This book shows that not only did Henry VII (Tudor) have several major rebellions and intrigues, but that it is possible that one of the two princes didn't die in the Tower (thus leaving alive the "rightful" heir ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book came highly recommended by members of the Richard III Society, American Branch (of which I am a member). Yes, Ms. Wroe goes into great detail and at times seems to be going off on a tangent, but then she pulls everything back into a cohesive whole. It is also extremely readable, often more like reading a novel than a scholarly biography.

As someone who has long been interested in the people and events involved in the era known as The Wars of the Roses, and in all things concerning Rich
May 10, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When this book finally ended, I found myself confused about why it had dragged so horribly on through six months of reading. The topic is undeniably fascinating--on par with Russia's "lost" Romanovs, this book tells the story of England's lost royalty, Princes Edward and Richard. Despite the extremely interesting topic of a returning prince (or is he?), the book was, quite plainly, dull. It took me half a year to get through and it was only by forcing myself that I did finally finish it. The wri ...more
Christopher Roth
Brilliantly researched and argued. It has me convinced that the balance of evidence indicates strongly that "Perkin Warbeck" was the rightful Richard IV. Why is this a minority opinion among historians? It's amazing that the Tudor so successfully bullied historians like Sir Thomas More and others into getting behind the "Warbeck" version of events that that prejudice still lingers. Come on, people! Just look at the evidence, and I promise no one will behead you. The Tudors took power utterly ill ...more
Elizabeth Ashworth
This book has given me so much to think about. It seems that the old stories of the 'pretenders to the throne' that I was taught at school may be too simplistic and possibly not even true. This book is beautifully written and immaculately researched and it has made me believe that 'Perkin Warbeck' was a convenient name given by Henry VII to a young man who could actually have been Richard, Duke of York.

This is a reference book which I will return to again and again. It's one that I enjoyed read
Jul 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to make this book work, but the writing style and approach of the author was difficult to read. She bounced back and forth so many times, the story did not progress. I've read lengthy non-fiction books that move well because the author has the ability to write in a way that flows well. This did not and I literally would fall asleep reading this.
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greathistory
Wow. One of the best histories I have ever read. Period. It's largely speculative in nature, due to the lack of documentary evidence of late 15th century royal intrigue, but the author has such a detailed understanding of the period and the places and the people involved, and she is such a skilled writer, that it is both a wonderful story and a great mystery. Loved it.
Jamie Collins
Hmm, I didn't notice the page count before I ordered this. I'm interested in Warbeck, but I'm not sure I'm 600 pages worth of interested.

ETA March 2013: I started this, but the first couple of chapters were rambling and poetical, which is not really what I want in a history book. Put aside to try again later.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit - I gave up on this one. Just didn't like the writing style and not enough "meat" to keep me reading.
Sue Robinson
I'm ashamed to say that I gave up on this book. Probably not a good choice to read when you are unwell.
Annoyingly padded with trivia. This book could have been 2/3's shorter if it had been written assuming that the reader knew a bit about the renaissance.
Apr 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it, although I'm not sure it is history as much as channeling.
Dimitrios Souvan
I struggled through this book. The information is nice and well presented at times. However, I often found that given the specific nature of the topic it is clear to me that there was little to talk about regarding Perkin Warbeck as a person and relevant information about those around him and therefore a whole book (especially of this length) was a difficult task. I feel that I liked the book overall, however it is not one that I can read for long periods of time and therefore it took me a long ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap!! This is a well written book & very well researched. I can only imagine the time it took to get this book together. That said, the book is over 500 pages + 55 pages (roughly) of notes. There is just SO MUCH going on in this book - comments on the papacy, other courts. Look, here's what I want to know: How did other courts react to Perkin Warbeck (aka Richard Plantagenet)? How did he keep getting away from Henry VII? Was Perkin ACTUALLY Richard? Did the two princes REALLY die in th ...more
Lisa Shardlow
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor-books-read
At first I thought the author was going on too much about things that weren't relevant to the subject, but it later was revealed that those things definitely were relevant. I found this book extremely interesting, but I'm not convinced that the young lad, who this story is about, is either Perkin or Richard. What I think is that the name Perkin Warbeck was just pinned on him by Henry VII to "prove" that he wasn't Richard of York, son of Edward IV. Thoroughly enjoyed it and all its possible theor ...more
Christine Cazeneuve
I'm rating this 5 stars because the research was so incredibly well done. The author did a terrific job of sorting out all the conflicting stories of this young man's life. She doesn't come to a conclusion of whether he was Richard, Duke of York or not but leaves you to draw your own conclusions. I will leave my decision with myself.
Donie Nelson
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My taste is eclectic and I became obsessed with "the princes in the tower", Edward & Richard, sons of Edward IV of England and nephews to Richard III. This book is a carefully researched historical account of a young man who claimed to be Prince Richard, the younger of the two princes in the tower. The author makes no conclusions, but allows the reader to decide. It is well-written and engrossing, despite the plethora of dates, places, and other facts. The accepted opinion is to blame Richar ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like history or biography
This book was quite good although it was long and quite detailed. It is about a man who said that he was one of the princes in the tower whom Richard III imprisoned and (most likely) had killed. He appeared on the scene about 10 years after Richard III was killed at the the Battle of Bosworth and tried to overthrow Henry VII and become King of England.

In the Middles Ages and the Renaissance, people believed that one's station in life was natural. Not just that one was born to it but also that yo
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  • Edward IV
  • Blood & Roses: the Paston Family and the Wars of the Roses
  • The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York
  • The Last Days of Richard III
  • The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England's Self-Made King
  • Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen
  • Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes
  • Richard the Third
  • Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III
  • Margaret of York: The Diabolical Duchess
  • Richard III and the Princes in the Tower
  • Richard III: The Maligned King
  • The Last White Rose: Dynasty, Rebellion and Treason. The Secret Wars against the Tudors
  • William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147-1219
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings
  • Katherine Swynford
  • Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens
  • Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings
Ann Wroe is a journalist and author - working as Briefings and Obituaries editor of The Economist. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Literature and the English Association.