I'm fascinated by Richard III and by the Wars of the Roses and have done a fair amount of reading on the subject, though I can't name all of the battles that occurred before Barnet in their proper order. As a novelist heading toward the end of her current project (yay! land!), I've been thinking of the next book, and it's likely that I'll set it during the Wars of the Roses. More than that I haven't decided; one of the reasons for this blog, in fact, is to sort out my own ideas.
But the main reason for this blog is that I'm an avid reader of historical fiction who chooses books mainly based on whether they're about people and places I'm particularly interested in (though lately I've been branching out a bit). Naturally, a lot of the novels I gravitate to concern the Wars of the Roses.
Lately, though, I've been noticing a distressing sameness to most of these novels: they all feature a Richard III who's little short of sainthood. He marries his wife solely for love, not paying the least bit of attention of all that family land. ("What? You mean you're an heiress too? Gollee!") He takes the throne only after days of agonized soul-searching. He's universally beloved by his subjects, except by a few churls who are motivated only by self-interest. All who oppose him, especially Those Nasty Woodvilles, are portrayed as having few if any redeeming qualities.
I have come across one recent exception, Reay Tannahill's The Seventh Son. Her Richard III is a sympathetic character, but not a saintly one. He's very much a man of his time, who's prepared to act ruthlessly when it suits his purpose.
The Internet isn't all that much better. The Richard III Society (incidentally, I'm a member; one of the many commendable things about the Society is that it doesn't impose a litmus test for membership) does have excellent websites with much objective information. Venture off those websites, however, and one either gets the saintly Richard or the monster of Shakespeare's play, with very little in between.
Fortunately, recent nonfiction, such as A. J. Pollard's Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, offers a much more balanced view of Richard. Unfortunately, this view isn't much reflected in recent fiction or the Internet. (Perhaps scholars need to blog a bit more.)
Hence this blog. It's a modest attempt to disseminate my own unromantic perspective on Richard III: that he was neither saintly nor satanic, but somewhere in between.
One more thing: in setting up this blog, I've probably been influenced a great deal by Alianore's excellent blog on Edward II, a troubled king who until her blog came along was getting almost universally bad (and often entirely inaccurate) press on the Internet.
So here's to objectivity!
Oh, and one more thing. We have some occasional fun on my main blog, so don't think for a minute we won't have some fun on this one too.