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  • John Murray
  • John Murray

The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III

Michael Jones, Philippa Langley

8 Reviews

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c 1000 CE to c 1500, Prose: non-fiction, British & Irish history, Medieval history, Medieval European archaeology

The real life, death and remarkable discovery of history's most controversial monarch.

Now with a new chapter.

The official inside story of the life, death and remarkable discovery of history's most controversial monarch.

On 22 August 1485 Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field, the last king of England to die in battle. His victorious opponent, Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII), went on to found one of our most famous ruling dynasties. Richard's body was displayed in undignified fashion for two days in nearby Leicester and then hurriedly buried in the church of the Greyfriars. Fifty years later, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, the king's grave was lost - its contents believed to be emptied into the river Soar and Richard III's reputation buried under a mound of Tudor propaganda. Its culmination was Shakespeare's compelling portrayal of a deformed and murderous villain, written over a hundred years after Richard's death.

Now - in an incredible find - Richard III's remains have been uncovered beneath a car park in Leicester. The King's Grave traces this remarkable journey. In alternate chapters, Philippa Langley, whose years of research and belief that she would find Richard in this exact spot inspired the project, reveals the inside story of the search for the king's grave, and historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's fifteenth-century life and death. The result is a compelling portrayal of one of our greatest archaeological discoveries, allowing a complete re-evaluation of our most controversial monarch - one that discards the distortions of later Tudor histories and puts the man firmly back into the context of his times.

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Praise for The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III

  • 'It is being called once of the most significant finds in archaeological history, shedding light on a king's last resting place and solving a 500-year old mystery over his death' - Daily Telegraph

  • 'Archaeologists described the find as one of the most significant 'in recent times' and said history books will be rewritten' - Daily Mirror

  • Jones's historical chapters are measured, reasonable and elegantly written - Sunday Times

  • [Philippa Langley] has just written a compelling book with historian and friend Michael Jones . . . It is cleverly constructed: in alternate chapters she tells the story of her quest, while Michael details the life of Richard colourfully. It reads like an up-all-night thriller - Mail on Sunday

  • This is the year that Richard III rose up from his unmarked grave in a Leicester car park, and this is the book that describes the painstaking quest for the king's body, and the battle that destroyed him. Philippa Langley pursued his remains, Michael Jones pursued his reputation and together they have written a book which explains and defines the battle where he died, the grave that was lost, and the legend that followed him. This book is about an important excavation indeed, of the body from a lost grave, and of a king from a long libel - Philippa Gregory

  • The King's Grave . . . reveals the remarkable story of how the remains came to be unearthed. And the result is a compelling portrayal of one of this century's most important archaeological discoveries - BBC History Magazine

  • Jones' cogent and nuanced narrative provides the historical ballast to Langley's search - Guardian

  • History at its most fascinating - www.booksmonthly.co.uk/nonfic.html

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Michael Jones

Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University, and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. He has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt and Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Moscow, as well as Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin. Most recently he has co-authored The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III.

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