He Who Plays the King

Mary Hocking

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As a child of seven, Richard of York, the future King Richard the Third, watched an even younger child coping determinedly with a large boarhound. Never again was Richard to have so clear a view of Henry Tudor, who, twenty-six years later, was to cost him his crown and his life at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Mary Hocking tells a story of kingship and king-making, of the entrenched rivalry between the houses of York and Lancaster, and of the lives of these two young claimants to the throne. Richard, a man of sharp wit and formidable energy, was a vigilant, unrelenting king, with little gift for friendship and only meagre support outside his native North Country. Henry, too, made no bid for popularity. He had learnt early on to expect little of life, and during his years of exile he remained patient, forbearing, yet shrewdly calculating, until the opportunity for action came.

The 'integrity' of Henry, the 'villainy' of Richard and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower are reassessed in this absorbing novel, which creates a sense of history through convincing portraits of the men and women who made it. Mary Hocking has written not only a record of the last dramatic years of the Wars of the Roses but also a perceptive study of the trials and triumphs of human ambition.

In the media
The very first page of a Mary Hocking novel offers the firm assurance that a real world is about to be opened up, with wholly believable people moving through some meaningful human dance

Jeremy Brooks