The Fate Of Princes by Paul Doherty

The Fate of PrincesRichard III, tormented (or is he?) by the accusations that he is responsible for the deaths of Edward V and his brother, the so-called Princes in the Tower, enlists Francis Lovell, his childhood friend and chamberlain to find the truth. But how can you investigate a crime when everyone seems to be lying to you – including the person who set you on the task?

Is Richard actually responsible for the death of his nephews? Or is there a darker force conspiring against him? As Henry Tudor rallies his forces in France, it seems Richard’s days are numbered. But can Lovell bring any sort of closure to this historical mystery, or will his investigations lead to a darker fate for him?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… Two Princes walk into a Tower…

A mystery that has endured since the fifteenth century, what happened to the Princes? Josephine Tey attempted an almost academic investigation in The Daughter Of Time, a groundbreaking book, but one which, alas, I didn’t really enjoy. Paul Doherty, after writing this one, had Roger Shallot involved in a mystery in the Tower in Henry VIII’s time, which led to some revelations concerning the Princes. There are countless others, I’m sure – my favourite is The Kingmaker by Nev Fountain – another reminder to check out his outstanding Mervyn Stone books. But I’m pretty sure the truth didn’t involved a blue Police Box and a time-travelling… well, that would be spoiling things.

This is sort of a companion piece to Dove Amongst The Hawks, which looked into the death of Henry VI. Along with the investigation, time is passing as Richard’s story leads inexorably towards his fate at Bosworth Field as the future foundation for a car park. As ever, Doherty has weaved a tale around the historical facts which, I don’t think, is supposed to be a genuine theory as to the fates of the Princes, but he doesn’t change what is known to have happened. There’s a very full epilogue detailing the fates of everyone involved.

It’s not really a whodunit, and I hesitate a little to recommend it to you if you don’t have a passing curiosity in medieval English history. But if you do, it’s an enjoyable, informative read and certainly worth your time. Recommended.


  1. This sounds interesting. I would be interested in comparing various fictional versions of the story of the princes. Someday, my reading list is too long right now to add this. But I will file it for future reference.


  2. See also the Roger Chapman mysteries by Kate Sedley. Roger works, sometimes at the direct request of Richard, Duke of York, to uncover mysteries for the king, Edward IV. As the books progress in time, we see Richard’s relation with his brother and nephews. In the latest books, Richard has become King and the princes are missing.


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