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To the Tower Born: A Novel of the Lost Princes
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To the Tower Born: A Novel of the Lost Princes

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,230 ratings  ·  132 reviews
The author of the highly praised The Wild Irish is back with a mesmerizing novel that probes one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries in history -- what happened to the lost princes of York

Debated for more than five centuries, the disappearance of the young princes Edward and Richard from the Tower of London in 1483 has stirred the imaginations of numerous writers fro
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by William Morrow (first published September 1st 2005)
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
The fate of the princes in the tower, the young sons of Edward IV who disappeared just before twelve-year old Edward was to be crowned as Edward V, is a mystery that has fascinated people for 500 years.

This treatment of the story treads a fine line between historical fiction and rather fanciful alternate history. I’ll give Maxwell credit for coming up with an unusual solution to the mystery. It’s unfortunate, though, that the basis of the story is founded on such stereotyped, almost cartoonish,
Xime García
¡Y aun así creo que es demasiada nota!

Bueno, no me puedo quejar mucho del libro. Lo compré de oferta. Normalmente Edhasa publica cosas buenas, y más que nada, tiene entre sus autores más prestigiosos las traducciones al español de Úrsula K. LeGuin, así que ¿por qué habría de dudar a la hora de comprar este libro?

La premisa es excelente: este libro noveliza una de las tantas teorías que explicaría la desaparición de los príncipes Eduardo (13 años) y Ricardo (9 años) de York. Ambientado en el S XV
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, ricardian
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 ha
This is another book by Robin Maxwell which is the opposite of "couldn't put it down" and is more like, "Get this away from me". I keep giving Maxwell a chance but perhaps it is time to give up.

The princes in the tower (Richard and Edward) who were "locked" up by their "usurping, evil, uncle Richard III"; is a historical tale which needs no exaggeration, no tangents, and no additions because it is an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries" in its own right. So why does Maxwell insist on adding such comp
Julio Vm
No me ha parecido ni demasiado buena ni mala. Simplemente, una novela que hace uso de su contexto y el misterio de los príncipes, para recrear una trama de aventuras, con tintes modernos. Si buscas rigor histórico, no la leas. Es evidente que las protagonistas no pudieron vivir todas esas situaciones... Pero historias libres sobre personajes históricos reales con diálogos y situaciones modernas, se dan con asiduidad en películas y no se critica tanto.
En definitiva: un relato para pasar el rato.
Nov 05, 2008 marked it as thrown-to-the-side
I put it under the couch one night before I went to bed...and promptly forgot about it for a week even though I was halfway through the book. Not a good sign!
This was dire. Filled with myths and badly researched or factually incorrect research. I feel it's aimed at the younger reader rather than an older reader that knows the period well.
Jenny GB
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting addition to the fiction surrounding the lost princes in the tower, but I wasn't too impressed with the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters. The author puts forth the theory that Margaret Beaufort was to blame for the prince's disappearance. The novel switches between the viewpoints of Elizabeth Woodville and a bookprinter's daughter named Nell as they tell the story to the future Henry VIII. The content is interesting and kept me reading as she theorized about R ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
It took me almost two months to read this book! It was just silly. It was very predictable and, at times, over dramatic. The story did put a nice spin on the disappearance of the two princes. But, I think it could have been written better.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a very light historical fiction,more fiction that historically detailed. It was an easy read and somewhat entertaining but not rich in story.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was supposed to be a tale about what happened to the princes in the tower - Edward V, uncrowned king of England and his brother, Richard, Duke of York. It is more the story of what happened in the months before the death of Edward IV to the failed first attempt of Henry Tudor's invasion through the eyes of Nell Caxton, friend of Princess Elizabeth (Bessie).

Nell - for all the excuses given - is uncommonly well educated for a woman at the time. To the point that she is able to take a position
Elizabeth Kennedy
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
An interesting take on what happened to the Two Princes. However, with the discovery of Richard the Thirds remains, much of this book was rendered incorrect, including the description. I understand that this was written before the discovery, but it made me not want to continue. I am glad that the author has exonerated Richard and the end was exciting, however it was a bit too hard to believe. The beginning was so slow, and the middle was too dry to read readily. I am just glad I can read somethi ...more
Joi Grady
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Much like the other Robin Maxwell book I read recently, this book was very hard to get into. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of the princes in the tower didn't need the addition of the ridiculous conclusion that this book came to. Probably will be the last book by this author that I read.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book more than I thought I would.there are many books like this circulating around put there - fanciful stories told about historical figures who may or must be based on real acatachers.
Marie F
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent behind the scenes perspective of the truth behind the ruthless Tudor reign
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the great mysteries of history is the premise of this book.
Rebecca Hill
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nell Caxton and Princess Elizabeth of York are great friends, both headstrong young ladies, who want the best for both of their families. After the death of King Edward IV and the murky succession of Edward V and Richard III, the two young boys, King Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, are locked in the tower after it is proven that they were born illegitimate, which means Edward cannot assume the throne. Suddenly one day they are gone, and no one knows where, or if they are even ali ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
The disappearance of the Princes in the Tower in 1483 has captured the attention of historians for hundreds of years, and the mystery has never been solved.

What we do know is that following the death of King Edward IV, his eldest son Edward was placed in The Tower of London (which were then luxurious royal apartments) for his own protection prior to his coronation. He was later joined by his younger brother, Prince Richard.

Whilst in the Tower it was discovered that the marriage of their parents
Carole Rae
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Randomly stumbled upon this at my library and I had read a Robin Maxwell novel in the past and I had liked it, so I thought why not give this a try? Well...I truly had mixed feelings about this one.

The twist with what happened to the lost princes surely did make me think. Is it crazy to think that a certain someone kidnapped them? (I shall not name names) But it all makes sense. This person (who is not Richard) was the one to do it. This person had every reason to do it and I'm ashamed that I n
Apr 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: war-of-the-roses
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The thing that’s wrong with this book (among many things) is that it depends almost entirely on coincidence to advance its plot. There are too many times when we are expected to believe that Nell and or Bessie are in the right place at the right time and by pure chance happen to be standing by a window where important information is being divulged or in a room unnoticed by people plotting. You’d think the people hatching said plots (to overthrow the rulers of their country, of all things!) would ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
“To The Tower Born” is a retelling of the infamous story of King Richard III and the “princes in the Tower,” or the “lost princes.” It is told from the two point-of-views of Bessie (the sister to the princes, and who would later become Queen Elizabeth to Henry VII), and Nell Caxton, a friend to the royal family.

As this is one of my favorite time periods and cast of characters, I was really hoping that the book would be better. Maxwell’s style of writing is a lot of telling instead of showing, an
Having read a review on this book just prior my read, I almost passed it up. However, I had read another book by Robin Maxwell that I liked so I decided to proceed. The story is theoretically told by Nell Caxton, only daughter of the first English printer, and Bessie, sister to the lost boys who were imprisoned in the tower. Both were real people.

What happened to the princes and who was responsible has not been determined but many have put forth theories. As of this writing, Maxwell notes that
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maxwell states in the author's note, " The debate[of the princes) is stymied by several widely fifteenth century chronicles, all of which are seriously flawed by bias, factual error, and incompleteness.... But none of them has fashioned a wholly satisfying conclusion."

Interesting, right? It should be! I just found too many road blocks in the way for me to "like" or "love" this book. Perhaps I have found myself saturated with so many theories about the princes in the tower. Maybe the problem is
Michelle L
Oct 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
A YA author has an even greater responsibility to get it right than others. I hate to pan an author outright, but this is one of the worst books I've ever read - poor writing, including extremely non-15th Century language and poor grammar, poor research, and wrong or deliberately (?) misleading 'facts'. What is the bloody point of a historical that gets it so wrong, for teens or adults? If it weren't for my interest in that particular piece of English history no way I would have struggled throu ...more
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I had just finished Philippa Gregory's "The White Queen," when I spied Maxwell's book in the public library to further follow up on my interest in the War of the Roses and the rivalries between the Yorks and the Lancasters. Gregory's novel was told first-person by Elizabeth Woodville, the queen to Edward IV, and portrays her as devoutly maternal as well as cunning and ambitiously determined to ensconce her relatives into power and position in her husband's realm. In Maxwell's novel, Bessie or El ...more
I previously attempted to read Robin Maxwell's 'The Secret Diary' of Anne Boleyn and I just couldn't get into it, I thought it a bit smutty for serious literature and I had to pass on finishing it. So, I wasn't sure what I would think of this book from the same author.

I recently finished 'A Rose For the Crown' by Anne Easter Smith and I wanted to read more about Richard III and the princes in the tower. I had this on the shelf and thought it was the perfect next choice.

The story of the lost pr
Morgan Dhu
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Robin Maxwell's To the Tower Born is a light but enjoyable novel set in the last days of the reign of Edward IV of England and the early days of the reign of Richard III, focusing on the political manoeuvres of the various factions and presenting a theory about the fate of the young princes. Maxwell chooses a minor, and mostly unknown, character - Nell Caxton, daughter of printer William Caxton, who was the recipient of royal patronage. Maxwell imagines a close friendship between Nell and the yo ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy Welch
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
I like the way she writes, and I am on a big historic fiction kick just now. But she made some serious factual mistakes, and a couple of obfuscations where she glossed really quickly over something, perhaps in hopes no one would notice. The plot as she constructed it doesn't work for her two characters because she's got them being strong women taking control of their own destiny and yet history has Queen Bessie (not Elizabeth I, but her grandmother) as the doormat of Lady Margaret, who was a REA ...more
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Robin Maxwell began writing novels about the historical figures she had been obsessing about since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn," now in its 24th printing, won two YA awards and has been translated into fourteen languages. "The Wild Irish" - an epic tale of Ireland's rebel queen, Grace O'Malley - closed ou ...more