cover image The Fate of Princes

The Fate of Princes

Paul C. Doherty. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-312-05429-8

What actually did happen to those princes who disappeared from the Tower of London? British writer Doherty, whose The Angel of Death recreated medieval London, now focuses vividly but more narrowly on the brief, anguished reign of Richard III. The king, target of vicious rumors, covertly appoints his old friend and chamberlain, Francis, Viscount Lovell, to dig up the facts of the boys' fate. Francis, doubting but loyal, doggedly questions everyone who might know something--including two on the brink of execution. And he keeps up his interrogations even after Richard's death, until at last he knows the whole truth. Readers may or may not buy this solution, but it's reasonable and said to be based on documentary evidence. Doherty's account of a savage era carries gripping scenes of prisons and palaces, smoky taverns and the misty Thames, murders, plots, spies, secret rooms that become secret tombs, the bloody battle of Bosworth and one extremely gruesome execution. (Mar.)