The White Queen

Philippa Gregory, Author . Touchstone $26.99 (415p) ISBN 978-1-4165-6368-6

The queen of British historical fiction (The Other Boleyn Girl ) kicks off a new series with the story of Elizabeth Woodville Grey, whose shifting alliances helped the War of the Roses take root. The marriage of 22-year-old Yorkist King Edward IV to 27-year-old widow Elizabeth brings a sea change in loyalties: Elizabeth's Lancastrian family becomes Edward's strongest supporters, while Edward's closest adviser, the ambitious earl of Warwick, joins with Edward's brother George to steal the English crown. History buffs from Shakespeare on have speculated about this fateful period, especially the end of Edward and Elizabeth's two sons, and Gregory invents plausible but provocative scenarios to explore those mysteries; she is especially poignant depicting Elizabeth in her later years, when her allegiance shifts toward Richard III (who may have killed her sons). Gregory earned her international reputation evoking sex, violence, love and betrayal among the Tudors; here she adds intimate relationships, political maneuvering and battlefield conflicts as well as some well-drawn supernatural elements. Gregory's newest may not be as fresh as earlier efforts, but she captures vividly the terrible inertia of war. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/29/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
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