The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds [NOOK Book]


The first full-length book about the discover of Richard III's remains by the person who led the archeology team and the historian whose book spurred her on

The mystery of who Richard III really was has fascinated historians, readers and audiences familiar with Shakespeare’s dastardly portrait of a hunchback monster of royalty for centuries. Earlier this year, the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possible was killed in battle, were ...
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The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds

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The first full-length book about the discover of Richard III's remains by the person who led the archeology team and the historian whose book spurred her on

The mystery of who Richard III really was has fascinated historians, readers and audiences familiar with Shakespeare’s dastardly portrait of a hunchback monster of royalty for centuries. Earlier this year, the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possible was killed in battle, were discovered underneath the paving of a parking lot in Leicester, England. Phillipa Langley, head of The Richard III Society, spurred on by the work of the historian Michael Jones, led the team of who uncovered the remains, certain that she had found the bones of the monarch. When DNA verification later confirmed that the skeleton was, indeed, that of King Richard III, the discovery ranks among the great stories of passionate intuition and perseverance against the odds. The news of the discovery of Richard’s remains has been widely reported by the British as well as worldwide and was front page news for both the New York Times and The Washington Post. Many believe that now, with King Richard III’s skeleton in hand, historians will finally begin to understand what happened to him following the Battle of Bosworth Field (twenty miles or so from Leicester) and, ultimately, to know whether he was the hateful, unscrupulous monarch of Shakespeare’s drama or a much more benevolent king interested in the common man. Written in alternating chapters, with Richard’s 15th century life told by historian Michael Jones (author of the critically acclaimed Bosworth - 1485) contrasting with the 21st century eyewitness account of the search and discovery of the body by Philippa Langley, The King’s Grave will be both an extraordinary portrait of the last Plantagenet monarch and the inspiring story of the archaeological dig that finally brings the real King Richard III into the light of day.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Langley, who spearheaded the search for Richard III's grave, and independent historian Jones (Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle) alternate chapters in this volume, with Langley describing the successful expedition to find Richard III's remains and the historian offering a comprehensive yet concise history of Richard's reign. Jones seeks to provide a more nuanced view of the king than Shakespeare's famous depiction of a scheming and murderous ruler. Despite the short turnaround from the successful search for Richard's grave and this publication, the authors present two well-realized and complete narratives, both of which are accessible and fresh. Taken together they form a popular history combining an intriguing mystery, the moving story of Langley's personal journey, and a revisionist portrait of Richard. While using new information, such as from studies made of the discovered remains and details of a psychological interpretation of Richard to show a more intricate representation of the king, is certainly valuable, at times readers may feel that Langley and Jones, both affiliated with the Richard III Society, portray Richard through rose-tinted glasses, always giving him the benefit of the doubt. VERDICT This title will appeal to general readers with any level of interest in or knowledge of the time period or the historical figures within, especially since the subject matter is newly topical owing to the publicity concerning the discovery of Richard's bones.—Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN
Publishers Weekly
In September 2012, the remains of England’s Richard III, whose two-year reign marked the end of the Plantagenet dynasty and a long, bloody civil war, were exhumed from under a Leicester car park. Langley, who spearheaded the dig and a related TV documentary, and medieval historian Jones (Bosworth 1485), sought a more nuanced and complex Richard, hoping to quash the caricature of the murderous, hunchbacked psychopath vilified by Tudor propagandists and Shakespeare alike. Richard’s skeleton exhibited severe scoliosis, but the disability didn’t hamper his martial skills in battles that restored his brother Edward IV to the throne in 1471. The skeleton’s wounds likely show that this last English king to die in battle led a courageous and carefully planned cavalry charge at Bosworth against an inexperienced, fearful Henry Tudor luckily saved by mercenary French pikemen. Moreover, the authors argue that Richard was an idealistic king with a keen sense of justice and humor. It is a solid, perceptive work that rights historical injustices, but Langley’s recalling of premonitory goose bumps at Richard’s lost grave and her hiring a graphologist to interpret Richard’s handwriting is off-putting, and her passion devolves at times into cheerleading. Illus. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"A solid, perceptive work that rights historical injustices." —-Publishers Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
Exciting, engagingly narrated tale of the "search to discover the real Richard III," co-authored by screenwriter Langley and historian Jones (Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin, 2011, etc.). What would drive Langley to spearhead a quest to dig up a car park in Leicester, searching for the remains of Richard III? The author credits her initial inspiration to Paul Murray Kendall's biography Richard III, which refutes the Shakespearean image of the king. However, it was after reading her co-author's Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle (2002) that she found the story she needed to tell. During her research, she was drawn to a car park across from the supposed site of Richard's grave. A strange sensation, pounding heart, dry mouth and a cold chill convinced her that she was at the correct site. On her second visit, she discovered a newly painted "R" (for a reserved parking spot) in the same spot where she knew the king's grave would be found. The book is woven cleverly with the story of the author's drive for funding, archaeology details and permission requests, alternating with Jones' strong biography of Richard. This much-maligned king reigned only two years, but there was no sign of an evil character in the courageous warrior who was devoted to his father and brother. While no one can defend the death of the two princes in the tower, the authors note that Richard's nephew and grandnephew, his legitimate heirs, each disappeared during the two subsequent reigns. "[W]e put a stop to the stigmatizing and vilification and allow for complexity," write the authors. Compelling throughout, this unlikely story of a three-week dig in an obscure car park is simultaneously informative and enchanting. Langley and Jones include extensive family trees and a helpful timeline. Ricardians rejoice!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466842700
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 77,353
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

PHILIPPA LANGLEY is a screenwriter and producer who inaugurated and led the successful archaeological search to locate King Richard III’s grave in Leicester. Her 90 minute documentary about the search for King Richard with Channel Four / Darlow Smithson Productions was aired on 4th February 2013.  She won the Richard III Society’s Robert Hamblin Award in 2012. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. The King’s Grave is her first book.

MICHAEL JONES is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the British Commission for Military History and now works freelance as a writer and media presenter. He has written eight books, including The King’s Mother, his highly-praised biography of Margaret Beaufort which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize, and Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle, regarded as a seminal work on Richard III and the battle of Bosworth. He lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    An exceptional read! Each chapter switches from the search for R

    An exceptional read! Each chapter switches from the search for Richard's remains (Langley) to Jones taking the reader into the world of Richard. III. In the appendix, a marvelous point-counterpoint view concerning the mystery of the two princes in the Tower of London. Congratulations to all who participated in this historical find. I will never watch Shakespeare's Richard III again in the same way. And never will anyone else after reading this book. Fascinating!   

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

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