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Tuesday News: King Richard’s bones confirmed via DNA; Ukraine’s best selling...

“The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month. The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor. “

The most successful author of Ukraine, according to the list, is Natalya Havrilenko, better known by her pen name Simona Vilar, an author of about 20 historical romance novels. Part of them is set in medieval France and England, but lately the writer focuses on a more patriotic location – Kyivan Rus. Her heroines are not Anna and Mary anymore, but Svetorada and Karina. The plot bears the classic features of a romance novel, with a noblewoman heroine going through some adventures accompanied by a knight, prince or knyaz.

Other wounds included slashes or stabs to the face and the side of the head. There was also evidence of “humiliation” injuries, including a pelvic wound likely to have been caused by an upward thrust of a weapon, through the buttock.

The only romance book I can recall regarding Richard the III is Fool’s Masquerade
by Joan Wolf. It’s a chick in pants story (and I loved it). The hero, Earl of Leyburn, is a great fan of King Richard who took great umbrage to anyone speaking ill of King Richard.

“King Richard?” I said incredulously. “Do you mean Richard the Third? The hunchback?”

His handsome face looked suddenly stern. “Don’t ever say that here in the north. Here he is ‘good King Richard’ and still beloved in memory. The eldest son of the Earl of Leyburn is always christened Richard in his memory.”

This was astonishing news. “But Shakespeare…” I began.

“Shakespeare lived under a Tudor sovereign,” he said. “It was in his interest to vilify Richard.”


“The last owner of this castle was Richard Plantagenet, King Richard the Third.” He was not smiling.

“Oh.” I looked around me.  “It must have been very grand once.”

“It was. The jewel of the north Middleham used to be. The Tudors let it fall into ruin.”

I remembered what Mr. Fitzallan had told me about Richard III.

“I understand that here in the north people do not think of King Richard as they do elsewhere,” I said tentatively.

The earl’s dark eyes were hard on my face. “No, they don’t. Richard the Third, Valentine, is the most bitterly wronged king in all of English history.”

I held his gaze. “I only know about him from Shakespeare.”

His mouth twisted. “You and everyone else. Crookback Richard, villain, usurper, murderer. And none of it is true.”

“What was Shakespeare’s source?” I asked. One thing I had learned from my father was to evaluate the bias of historical sources before coming to any conclusions. Lord Leyburn looked at me speculatively.

“The History of Richard III by Sir Thomas More.”

“Sir Thomas More?” I shook my head. “I don’t think one can call into question the integrity of a man like More, my lord.”

The earl made an abrupt gesture. “Sit down, Valentine.” I sat on a low stone wall and stretched out my legs. Lord Leyburn did the same. “Thomas More was brought up in the household of Cardinal Morton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Morton was the right hand man of Henry the Seventh, the Tudor usurper who defeated Richard at Bosworth Field. Morton was also, and had been for years, Richard’s deadly enemy. There is no doubt that Morton is the one who supplied the information about Richard to his pupil, Thomas More. And the history was never published in More’s lifetime. It was found with his papers after his death. It was not finished. I’ve always thought that More, who was an extremely intelligent man, never finished it because he had begun to doubt the honesty and the value of the material supplied to him by Morton.”

“What do you know of Richard the Third, Valentine?”

“That he murdered his nephews, the little princes in the tower,” I answered promptly.

“And why would he do that, do you think? Richard had already been crowned king and widely accepted by the country.”

“Because the princes were the sons of Edward the Fourth and Richard was only the former king’s younger brother. They had a better right to the throne than he.”

“So did the boy’s five sisters. And his brother George’s son and daughter. In getting rid of the boys he would only be scratching the surface of the York heirs who supposedly stood between him and the throne.”

I narrowed my eyes and stared at the stone walls of the ruined castle. “What happened to the other heirs?” I asked finally.

“You have a beautiful mind, Valentine,” he said. “When Richard died, they were all alive and prospering.”

“When Richard died,” I repeated. “What happened to them after he died?”

“Henry took immediate steps to secure the persons of all of the heirs and kept them in close seclusion until he could get rid of them with a minimum of fuss.”

“My, my, my.” I looked at him. “No one ever claimed Henry the Seventh was a pleasant man,” I remarked.

“He was more than unpleasant. He was the murdering bastard who had the princes killed,” the earl said, and proceeded to set forth the evidence.


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. ms bookjunkie
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 05:45:02

    I do believe it’s time to dig FOOL’S MASQUERADE out from the TBR file…

  2. Sunita
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 07:00:50

    What a great excerpt from the Wolf book. If the Richard III story isn’t an example of how history is written by the winners, I don’t know what is.

    That graphic is frightening. I pretty much knew that, intellectually, but seeing it laid out really hammers it home. And no wonder I rarely listen to regular radio anymore.

  3. Michelle
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 07:36:13

    I loved Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time. Another book about King Richard.

  4. carmen webster buxton
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 08:25:28

    Ditto the love for DAUGHTER OF TIME. I don’t think I have ever read another book quite like it. And thanks for the passage from the Joan Wolf book. It sounds like a Ricardian’s dream. I will check it out. I also enjoyed THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR by Sharon Kay Penman, a novel about Richard’s life that includes his love story but not by any means a HEA since his wife died so young– and then Bosworth Field happening not too much later.

    p.s. Just checked and the Kindle edition of FOOL’S MASQUERADE is only $3.99!

  5. Ros
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 09:11:11

    @Sunita: That is true, but the bones do confirm the crooked back. There was a dreadful documentary on UK TV last night featuring a woman from the Richard III society and various others who all refused to believe that the hunchback had any basis in fact. When confronted with the evidence, she was devastated.

  6. TaraR
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 10:02:30

    Coincidentally I just finished reading The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory, where Richard is painted in an entirely different light than in Shakespeare’s play. Excellent book. I think I’ll now go looking for Fool’s Masquerade.

  7. Muneera N.
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 11:14:54

    after reading your post and the parts from Fool’s Masquerade, I immediately purchased it and just finished reading it (despite having a lot of other things I should have been doing :D ). Once I started, I had to keep reading and I kept glancing at the time and trying to slow it down by glaring at it. It was a wonderful story. I haven’t read a book that I loved so much in a very long time. The writing, characters, plot, the way the story was laid out- I loved every bit of it. Thank you for posting about it or I would have missed out on a really, really good book!

  8. Jane
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 11:20:17

    @Muneera N.: Give Her Lordship’s Mistress and London Season a try if you liked Fool’s Masquerade. The tone is the same. Love Wolf’s trad regencies.

  9. AlexaB
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 11:56:36

    I’m so happy the skeleton has a crooked back. Maybe Ricardians will start to recognize Occam’s Razor and begin to see that if it quacks like a duck, and if it brutally executed its nephews’ guardians in order to take its nephews prisoner, maybe Shakespeare and More – who certainly lived closer in time to Richard III than Jospehine Tey – were correct.

    Ricardians want us to believe that somehow Henry VII, who was living on borrowed funds in France at the time, had the resources (and the foresight to know that Richard’s son would die a year later, Richard would not father another son, and that the Tudor forces would be successful at Bosworth) to hire an assassin who was somehow able to sneak into the heavily fortified Tower, find the princes, murder them without anyone sounding the alarm, and sneak out. And that Richard would basically do nothing in response: would not show the bodies, would not raise an inquest, would not use their murders as proof the kingdom had enemies, etc. That’s some amazing prescience old Hank had.

    As for the heirs, Edward’s daughters were a) female and b) declared illegitimate and thus unable to claim the throne. They were useful only as marriage pawns – a use Richard well knew and indeed, some contemporary sources suggested that his relationship with his oldest niece, Elizabeth, was not just an avuncular one and was heading toward marriage after his wife, Anne Neville, died. Why kill them?

    As for not killing George, Duke of Clarence’s children: because of their father’s treason, they were under attainder and not legally able to inherit the throne. Also, they were not only his niece and nephew, but they were also the children of his wife’s late sister and she had stepped in as guardian after their parents’ death. Kinda hard to kill children under your wife’s nose and expect to get away with it.

    Henry VII married Richard’s niece and supposed squeeze Elizabeth of York (it was apparently a fairly successful marriage) and found husbands for her sisters, so one can’t claim he treated them harshly. He did imprison Edward, Earl of Warwick and Clarence’s son, eventually executing him on the pretense that Edward was involved with the pretender Perkin Warbeck. Edward was given a trial of his peers first (a kangaroo court, sure, but he wasn’t murdered out of sight.)

    Occam’s Razor. Richard had the access, Richard had the immediate need, and Richard had already committed murder via executions to take the throne from Edward V. It makes good fiction to speculate “what if,” but really bad history.

    I wish Elizabeth II would give permission for testing of the skeletons found in the Tower almost precisely where More said the bodies of the two princes had been hidden. The bones were visually examined in 1933, but no modern tests have been allowed to take place.

  10. Lada
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 13:01:56

    ArsTechnica (among others) is refuting the WP article and explaining what the FCC was really talking about.

    The Post article was apparently spurred by a relatively minor development, the FCC taking comments from industry players about the agency’s plan to free up spectrum owned by TV broadcasters through incentive auctions. Newly freed spectrum in the 600MHz band could be used for Super Wi-Fi and other services that might expand mobile Internet access.

  11. cayenne
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 13:34:48

    @Jane: I love that quote from Fool’s Masquerade, and it was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news about the DNA match.

    Re reco’ing Fool’s Masquerade and A London Season – I would also add The Rebellious Ward and The Scottish Lord. Each of them has a character or a name-check from one of the other 3 books pop up. I like most of Joan Wolf’s trad regencies, but I think those four are her best.

  12. Muneera N.
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 14:19:23

    @Jane: @cayenne:
    Thank you for the rec’s, I’m going to buy them now!

  13. txvoodoo
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 16:55:12

    @AlexaB thank you for that comprehensive and fascinating post!

  14. B. Sullivan
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 17:22:22

    @Lada – eventually I’m going to learn to read Dear Author first and news second, because I had to get to that Ars article in a really roundabout way! And it’s kinda odd how many stories about the free WiFi were posted without noting that it was this “White Spaces proposal” that’s been around awhile.

    Which is a bummer, because I’d love for us all to have free Wifi. Of course who’d install/pay for/police it, that’d be a headache.

    Also I love that we’re all following the Richard III news. Nothing like a good exhumation paired with modern lab results to get the history buffs all excited!

  15. B. Sullivan
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 17:32:47

    Oops forgot to add – on the media consolidation – passing this link along in case it’ll help. For mass media classes we always were griping that one of the hardest things to keep track of was who owns what. (Someone called it the conglomerate octopus, I forget who.) Columbia Journalism Review has been tracking this for decades and now has it organized in a handy pull down menu of corporations, which leads to a list of what each owns.

  16. MD
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 20:17:59

    Romantic fiction is big in Ukraine and Russia. But it has a very different landscape. Under the heading of romance you get either “old school bodice rippers” or what would probably count as women’s fiction here – books where, for example, the heroine commits adultery then eventually finds happiness by leaving her ok but boring husband for a new love. And leaving me entirely uncertain that she will be able to have her HEA once the new love becomes the boring old husband ;-) A number of my friends read those books, but I generally haven’t found anything that would go above C- on the Dear Author standards :( That probably says more about society than anything else, though.

  17. Kay Webb Harrison
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 21:35:47

    I also recomment Tey’s Daughter of Time for an insightful analysis, based on detective techniques, as to who benefited most from the deaths of Richard III’s nephews.

    Other fiction with Richard III themes are Elizabeth Peters’ The Murders of Richard III, which features librarian Jacqueline Kirby, and Joan Szechman’s This Time and its sequel Loyalty Binds Me; the latter two feature Richard III himself brought forward in time to 2004.


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