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Rating: 4 shiny stars of five
The Publisher Says: A tyrant on the throne...
Richard II was young, handsome, and elegant. Last living child of the brilliant Black Prince, he came to the throne bearing the hopes of his people on his shoulders. His court glittered; his tastes were refined; his portraits shone with gold. Regal, composed, aloof, he was the very picture of majesty. He became a murderous, capricious tyrant. His favourites plotted against his family. He rewrote the laws of England to give himself absolute power. He raised an army against his own subjects.
His subjects deposed him. Twice.
This is the story of the forgotten civil war of 1387, which saw Richard set against his brave, ill-starred uncle Thomas of Woodstock. Of how a boy’s bright promise turned deadly, provoking his nobles to fear, flight, and finally open war. Of how a humiliated King set out on a course of vengeance which would cost him his life and sow the first fatal seeds of the Wars of the Roses.
From royal banquets to battles in the mist, Death Keeps His Court tells a tale of real-life tyranny, treachery and tragedy in the age which inspired A Game of Thrones.
Anselm Audley holds BA and Master’s degrees in ancient history from Oxford, as well as a degree in planetary science from University College London. He is a published fantasy novelist, the author of Heresy, Inquisition, Crusade, and Vespera.
My Review: Never, ever fail to believe a tyrant:
The King was the revolutionary, twisting law and justice into weapons, setting his own arbitrary whims above the settled custom of the realm, and giving not only protection but honours and riches to men whose conduct had been reprehensible. He had not the slightest respect for the laws of the land or the rights of his subjects, yet he was still the King – great Edward’s grandson and anointed monarch.When low, cunning men and women gain power, they bluster and threaten and posture. Good, reasonable people who want to believe the best of them say that they don't mean what they are saying.
To show his friendship and appreciation for his favourites, Richard had given them everything they had asked for. He had bent laws, misused his power as King for their benefit, made himself the friend of France and the enemy of his own people. He had protected them no matter what they did.They do. Always and without fail, they are truthful in their lies. What they intend to do is always in the bluster. And good people will never, ever believe them.
Thwarted, Richard instead resorted to one breach of faith after another: refusing to turn up to a council meeting, trying to delay the writs for Parliament, using every trick he could think of to keep the Appellants from acting. There could no longer be any doubt; de Vere was coming, and he had an army. All Richard’s delays, all his stratagems, had been attempts to buy time, to keep the Appellants’ eyes fixed on London.So, here we are!
Even now, it seemed, the King believed he had the power to make reality conform to his will. –and– Richard was incapable of forgiving and forgetting. His tender sense of his own regality, still bruised, was one reason.Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, mes amis.