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The Sunne in Splendour

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman
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The pageantry, passion and tragedy of the life of Richard III.

Richard, last-born son of the Duke of York, was three when the battle of St Albans began the War of the Roses, eight when his father and brother Edmund were brutally slain at Wakefield Green, nine when his resplendent brother Edward, aged nineteen, won the crown for York, and seven months short of his own nineteenth birthday when he bloodied himself at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, earning his legendary reputation as a battle commander and ending the Lancastrian line of succession.

But Richard was far more than a warrior schooled in combat. He was also a devoted brother whose defence of George of Clarence continued even in the face of madness; whose loyalty to his brother the king endured even unto death, despite his distaste for Edward's libertine appetites and political expediency. And he was an ardent suitor. His all-consuming love for Anne Neville began in childhood.

Wed at fourteen to Edouard of Lancaster in a loveless match and widowed six months later, she came to Richard afflicted with wounds of the soul that only his patient tenderness could heal. But heal they did and theirs became a marriage as remarkable for its consistency as for its ardour. Richard was indeed many things, patron of the arts, indulgent father, generous friend. Above all, he was a man of fierce loyalties, great courage and firm principles, who was ill at ease among the intrigues of Edward's court.

The very codes Richard lived by betrayed him. But he was betrayed by history as well. Leaving no heir, his reputation was at the mercy of his successor; and Henry Tudor had too much at stake to risk mercy. Thus was born the myth of the man who would stop at nothing to gain the throne.

Filled with the sights and sounds of battle, the customs and love of daily life, the rigours and dangers of Court politics and the touching concerns of very real men and women, The Sunne in Splendour is a richly coloured tapestry of medieval England.

Pan Macmillan UK; August 2012
896 pages; ISBN 9781743285022
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Title: The Sunne in Splendour
Author: Sharon Penman
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