The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1982. First Edition. Hardcover. 936 pages ; 25 cm. $19.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR
He was the last-born son of the Duke of York. He would become the last Plantagenet King of England. He is perhaps the most controversial monarch ever to rule that island nation. Certainly the most vilified. He was Richard III.
The Sunne in Splendour reverberates with the sound of truth as it re-creates the life of this most complex and compelling man. Born into an England awash with intrigue and war, Richard was eight when his father was ambushed and slain, eighteen when he first blooded himself in combat. His times were torn by shifting alliances that made treachery and danger a part of daily life. Yet through it all, Richard remained firm in his abiding devotion to those he loved. It was his strength. And his undoing.
Caught in that vicious power struggle history has called The Wars of the Roses, Richard was raised in the shadow of his resplendent brother Edward. At nineteen and against all odds, Edward defeated the Lancastrian forces and claimed the throne for York. Headstrong, charming, and regally handsome, Edward was as famous for his sensual appetites as for his unfailing preference for the expedient over the correct. Despairing of his brother's follies, Richard nonetheless served him faithfully: through battle and exile, in war and in peace, despite the scandal of Edward's Court and the malice of his Queen. And he was rewarded with honors and lands, with tides and royal commissions, with, above all. affection and trust. Only one thing did Edward deny his favorite brother: the right to wed the woman he adored.
Anne Neville had fallen in love with Richard when they were both mere children. And he returned her love with an all-consuming passion that was to last a lifetime, enduring forced separation, a brutal mar¬riage, and murderous loss. She was the daughter of his father's closest ally who was now his brother's worst enemy and she became an innocent pawn in a deadly game of power politics. That game was to in¬flict wounds of the soul that only Richard's patient tenderness could heal. The Sunne in Splendour is the story of Richard's fight to win her and to heal her.
Five hundred years after he died on the field of battle, Richard is still a figure of controversy and his story still fascinates and casts a spell. Betrayed in life by his allies, Richard was betrayed in death by his¬tory. Leaving no heir, his reputation was like his corpse: left to his enemies, mutilated beyond recognition.
Filled with the sights and sounds of battle, the customs and lore of daily life, the rigors and risks of Court politics, the passions and infidelities of the high born, and the touching concerns of very real men and women, The Sunne in Splendour brings to life this gifted man whose greatest sin, perhaps, was that he held principles too firm for the times he lived in and loved too deeply to survive love's loss.
Combining the accuracy of the historian, the logic of the lawyer, and the insight of the novelist—all of which she is—Sharon Kay Penman resolves the mystery of Richard HI and provides absorbing drama.
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