cover image The Princes in the Tower

The Princes in the Tower

Alison Weir, B. Alison Weir. Ballantine Books, $23 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38372-3

In this carefully researched and absorbing work of scholarship, Weir ( The Six Wives of Henry VIII ) investigates the events surrounding the disappearance in 1483 of England's 12-year-old King Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York. Upon the death of their father, King Edward IV, in 1483, the brothers' uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named Edward V's guardian. In a breathtaking chain of sinister events, Richard had Edward V and his brother confined to the Tower of London, declared his nephew's accession to the throne invalid and proclaimed himself king in June of 1483. Weir relies heavily on Sir Thomas More's History of King Richard III (written 1514-1518 and upon which William Shakespeare based his play) to conclude that Richard had his nephews murdered in the tower sometime after his coronation. Weir carefully considers alternative theories about the brothers' deaths, but argues convincingly that More had the best access to evidence and the least reason to lie. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)