Tuesday, March 9, 2010

GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: "The Stolen Crown" by Susan Higginbotham

As part of her blog tour this month, please welcome the author Susan Higginbotham to The Burton Review!
What follows is a guest post by Susan, and at the end there is a giveaway of her new release, The Stolen Crown. (Read my review.)

Take it away, Susan:

One of the greatest English historical mysteries is that of the fate of Edward IV’s two royal sons, who were lodged in the Tower at the time Richard III made himself king and who never appeared in public afterward. Were they murdered by Richard III, as depicted so memorably by Shakespeare? Were they murdered by someone else during Richard III’s reign, such as Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham? Did they survive his reign, only be murdered by Henry VII? Were they spirited abroad, to die of natural causes in anonymity? Did the younger prince, Richard, Duke of York, return to claim his throne in the guise of one Perkin Warbeck? Did the boys simply succumb to a natural illness while in the Tower? If they were murdered, were they smothered? Were they slowly bled to death? Did they kill themselves?

My own thoughts about this mystery are reflected in The Stolen Crown, and who I am to spoil things by telling you here? (As William Hastings tells Buckingham in the novel, “To use an old cliché, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”) Instead, I’ll simply point out that intelligent, well-informed people have differed on this matter throughout the centuries, and that hundreds (if not thousands) of books, articles, and websites have been devoted to the subject. My own favorite discussion is that of A. J. Pollard in Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.

Indeed, the two English novelists I most love—Charles Dickens and Jane Austen—came to dead opposite conclusions on question of the princes’ fate. Though, sadly, none of Austen’s fictional characters ever engages in a conversation on this subject that I can recall (it would be interesting to hear Darcy and Elizabeth spar on this theme, for instance, or to hear what would surely be Mr. Knightley’s sensible view), the young Jane gave her own views in The History of England from the reign of Henry the 4th to the death of Charles the 1st:

“The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man. It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews & his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; & if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard. Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a Villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.”

Dickens, on the other hand, fell firmly into the camp that believed Richard to be guilty. As he put it in A Child’s History of England, “While he was on this journey, King Richard stayed a week at Warwick. And from Warwick he sent instructions home for one of the wickedest murders that ever was done—the murder of the two young princes, his nephews, who were shut up in the Tower of London.” Or, as Sam Weller puts it rather more memorably in The Pickwick Papers: “Business first, pleasure arterwards, as King Richard the Third said when he stabbed the t'other king in the Tower, afore he smothered the babbies.”

With the greatest of novelists disagreeing on the subject, can we hope that any solution to the mystery by us humbler folk will meet with universal acceptance? Probably not—but given the direction of current literary trends, I’m banking on the possibility of the mystery being solved through a book called The Zombie Princes in the Tower or Richard III: The Vampire King. The world is waiting breathlessly—though not, mind you, bloodlessly—for a work in this vein.
Susan's third medieval novel, THE STOLEN CROWN


On May Day, 1464, six-year-old Katherine Woodville, daughter of a duchess who has married a knight of modest means, awakes to find her gorgeous older sister, Elizabeth, in the midst of a secret marriage to King Edward IV. It changes everything—for Kate and for England.

Then King Edward dies unexpectedly. Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, is named protector of Edward and Elizabeth's two young princes, but Richard's own ambitions for the crown interfere with his duties...
Lancastrians against Yorkists: greed, power, murder, and war. As the story unfolds through the unique perspective of Kate Woodville, it soon becomes apparent that not everyone is wholly evil—or wholly good.
Author, Susan Higginbotham
Susan Higginbotham is the author of two historical fiction novels. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, is the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and is a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She writes her own historical fiction blog and is a contributor to the blog Yesterday Revisited. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in North Carolina with her family. For more information, please visit http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/

Follow Susan on her Blog Tour for The Stolen Crown:
March 1: Christy English
March 3: Pop Syndicate's Book Addict
March 4: Rundpinne
March 5: Queen of Happy Endings
March 9: The Burton Review
March 10: Psychotic State
March 12: Laura's Reviews
March 15: Fresh Fiction
March 16: Devourer of Books
March 22: Beth Fish Reads
March 24: Historical Hussies
March 26: Peeking Between the Pages
March 30: Historical Tapestry
March 31: So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Sourcebooks is sponsoring two copies of THE STOLEN CROWN for USA and Canada residents only.
The catch:
You have to answer this question:
What do you think happened to the Princes in the tower?
Leave your comment with an email address so I can contact the winners.

+2 entries: post a graphic link in your blog's Sidebar linking to this post.

Giveaway ends March 27th. Good Luck!
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37 Witty Commenters Here:

Clare said...

I didn't realize it was such a great historical mystery for the English! How interesting, especially Austen's views on the subject.

I am, however, going to go with good old-fashioned murder- don't want any threats to your royal claim running about!

Michelle said...

I think one of the princes was switched with a young peasant so he could be hidden away with those sympathetic to the cause. I think that both the oldest prince and the young peasant were then killed by Richard.

Can you tell I've read some fiction about this situation?


Amy said...

I think Richard had someone else do the dirty work, but his fingerprints were all over the crime. His ambition outweighed his compassion.

tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

Linda said...

I think the princes were killed by Henry VII, who then had the history written that placed the blame on Richard.

I've read Ms Higginbotham's two previous novels and I'm anxious to read this one, even 'tho I don't care for the Woodvilles.

Thanks for the giveaway.

Marie Burton said...

Thanks for the responses thus far! I love this topic very much.

My uneducated guess is that Richard had his henchmen suffocate the princes. I understand that some don't believe that he did because (one argument) he would have paraded the dead bodies so that further uprisings in the name of the boy's rights would not be possible.

I think since the boys were indeed his nephews, he would have been seen as a monster obviously, and that he did not want anyone to think he did it.

Libby's Library said...

I think that she let down her hair, so that a knight on white horse, could climb up and rescue her. He brought her a glass slipper that fit perfectly, and they lived happily ever after in a cottage by a swamp.

Or maybe that was what happened in another story:-)

Thanks for another great post & giveaway.


Muse in the Fog said...

No need to enter me in the giveaway as I already have an ARC.

After having done a lot of research on this topic, I believe Richard is innocent of the charges against him. I believe that Richard was slandered by Tudor propaganda; it is the winners who write the history books (at least they did back then).

Pricilla said...

I agree with Muse in Fog that the winners do write the history but there is nothing definitive about the fate of the two princes so I think that Richard did have them quietly eliminated.

Power was such a strong motivator during that time in history and I think it made more people drunk with it; it was also a violent time and throughout history to that point the easiest way to deal with a threat to power was to kill that threat.

kaiminani at gmail dot com

ajroyston said...

I highly doubt that Richard had his nephews killed. It just doesn't make sense that he would kill off the two children that would continue his families reign in England. It makes much more sense that Henry VII had them killed to cement his place on the throne and ensure that his offspring would rule instead of Edward IV's.


ajroyston said...

Oh, and Richard was "unofficially" cleared of all charges in a mock trial by the Supreme Court in 1997. It was in connection with the Indiana University Law School. I actually didn't know anything about the mock trial until about a month ago, so this may be old news to everyone else. I just thought it was interesting that a mystery like this would lead to 3 Supreme Court justices doing a mock trial in the 20th century.

Lady Quinlan said...

I just can't believe that Richard did it. After all of the accomplishments he had under his brother's reign, I have to believe he was smarter than that. If he had done it, he would have made sure nobody ever found out about it. I personally like the Buckingham theory, although I put nothing past Henry VII.

Please enter me! JDQ1175@aol.com

dolleygurl said...

I don't have too much experience on this topic but I wouldn't put it past King Richard. I feel that King John killed his nephew Arthur - mostly because he never produced him when asked to. This situation feels very similar here too (king, nephews, asked to produce them, never seen again). I wouldn't put anything past a king, even if they were his own family. But like I said, I don't have a lot of knowledge about this period to make any solid accusations.

Please enter me! dolleygurl[at]hotmail[dot]com

librarypat said...

Unfortunately, I think they were most likely murdered. If you look at the history of England and Scotland, the English royalty had a bad habit of dispatching those who were in their way. Age and how closely you were related didn't seem to make much of a difference to them.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Mandy said...

I think they must have been murdered. My villain of choice is Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother.
Ambition and power and great motivators for anyone, but ambition of power for ones child is the strongest motivator of all.
I do often wonder, though, if perhaps only Edward was killed and Richard escaped - I love the story of the Perkin Warbeck rebellion.
I can't wait to read Susan's take on the mystery!

email address mandy.moody@comcast.net

Susie Tudor Daughter said...

I don't think it was Richard or Henry VII. I believe it was the Duke of Buckingham who wanted them out of the way and then he would go after Richard and get the crown himself, never expecting Henry to win at Bosworth. He was sly one and very power hungry. He had motive and access and a lot of friends who owed him plenty. He may not have done it personally but he arranged it. Food for thought.

jemscout425 said...

I think Richard had them strangled and buried inside the tower.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

As much as I'm inclined to believe that Richard III killed the princes, the optimistic, wishful-thinking side of myself likes to think that they were allowed to live and that they led quiet, happy lives as virtual unknowns. However, the cutthroat times that they were back then points to the princes probably being eliminated.

+2 I posted this in my giveaway section on my right sidebar: http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com/

Thanks for the giveaway!


fickle fan said...

I honestly think that the two princes are murdered. After all, there were two skeletons that were found in the tower a few decades [or centuries?] after they were missing!

rubs.escalona [at] gmail.com

Rachel said...

I think they were murdered but not by Richard III. Thanks for the giveaway!


Maxine said...

I don't know a whole lot about this subject. I was leaning toward Richard being the murderer, but lately I've been wondering if it was Henry VII who did it then pinned it on Richard, like Muse in the Fog said. One of these days I will get around to finding a non fiction book on the subject. :)

Trish said...

I'll go with the one who supposedly confessed to the crime (albeit during torture), James Tyrrell. Looking forward to reading more on the subject.

Pricilla said...

I've got this up on my sidebar at www.brokenteepee.info
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Jenny Girl said...

Don't enter me since I read this book and LOVED it! Great post. I think Richard III did kill the boys.What ere two more deaths to him at that time? They were standing in the way of "his" throne.

Marianna said...

Sadly, I think the princes probably met their demise!
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

Kitty said...

I think Richard had the boys killed. Thanks


Heather Y said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! I'd never thought about this before... but murder is the only thing that makes sense. Sad...

heather y

Christy said...

Admittedly, I haven't read a whole lot about this time period, but from what I've gathered, I always believe Richard had them killed. I don't believe he did it himself, but had a couple of 'hit men' do the job.


+2 Link on right sidebar leading to this post: http://christysbooks.blogspot.com/

Bani said...

I think they were probably killed by Richard III. But I must admit that my opinion is very colored by a children's book I read years ago that was inspired by the mystery.

wakeupangel at gmail dot com

Soft Fuzzy Sweater said...

The last time I was in London I visited the Tower and heard a lot of ghost stories from actual witnesses.

None of them claimed to see the two princes. The skeletal remains have not been tested by DNA methods (at least not that I'm aware of). They could be the princes.

Historians have attempted to rehabilitate Richard III and I'm not sure they have been successful.

It was a "dog-eat-dog" world back then and in order to do what he thought was best for the country (not to let it fall into the queen's hands), Richard may have taken extreme measures!


teabird said...

Murdered, alas.

teabird17 atyahoodotcom

Sue said...

I think that Richard had them murdered and buried in the Tower. None of them seemed to have any love for anyone but themselves.
Thank you for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

LittleEagle said...

I believe that they were killed int he Tower but I'm not sure by whom. Thank you for hosting this giveaway. sharonaquilino at hotmail dot com

Misusedinnocence said...

I believe they were both murdered there, by someone hired by Richard. I hope it was quick though, and not too painful. :(


Lisa R said...

I think there was a very good chance they died from neglect after being put in the Tower. The dampness and bad food would have been murderous to pampered princes.

Love,love,love historical fiction, throw in a mystery and you got me-hook,line & sinker

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

bettycd said...

Whoever killed the two in the tower was probably then promptly killed to keep the truth quiet. It does make for a great historical mystery with the added twist of whether or not there was a switch made for the younger boy. I've always wondered why all those switched peasant boys didn't speak up and make a fuss.

pixie13 said...

I believe they were murdered. As to who did it, no thoughts on the subject. Too many suspects with all of them having something to gain.

Jo-Jo said...

I don't know much about this story but I will guess a murder.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com