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Mar 9, 2010

GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: "The Stolen Crown" by Susan Higginbotham

As part of her blog tour this month, please welcome the author Susan Higginbotham to The Burton Review!
What follows is a guest post by Susan, and at the end there is a giveaway of her new release, The Stolen Crown. (Read my review.)

Take it away, Susan:

One of the greatest English historical mysteries is that of the fate of Edward IV’s two royal sons, who were lodged in the Tower at the time Richard III made himself king and who never appeared in public afterward. Were they murdered by Richard III, as depicted so memorably by Shakespeare? Were they murdered by someone else during Richard III’s reign, such as Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham? Did they survive his reign, only be murdered by Henry VII? Were they spirited abroad, to die of natural causes in anonymity? Did the younger prince, Richard, Duke of York, return to claim his throne in the guise of one Perkin Warbeck? Did the boys simply succumb to a natural illness while in the Tower? If they were murdered, were they smothered? Were they slowly bled to death? Did they kill themselves?

My own thoughts about this mystery are reflected in The Stolen Crown, and who I am to spoil things by telling you here? (As William Hastings tells Buckingham in the novel, “To use an old cliché, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”) Instead, I’ll simply point out that intelligent, well-informed people have differed on this matter throughout the centuries, and that hundreds (if not thousands) of books, articles, and websites have been devoted to the subject. My own favorite discussion is that of A. J. Pollard in Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.

Indeed, the two English novelists I most love—Charles Dickens and Jane Austen—came to dead opposite conclusions on question of the princes’ fate. Though, sadly, none of Austen’s fictional characters ever engages in a conversation on this subject that I can recall (it would be interesting to hear Darcy and Elizabeth spar on this theme, for instance, or to hear what would surely be Mr. Knightley’s sensible view), the young Jane gave her own views in The History of England from the reign of Henry the 4th to the death of Charles the 1st:

“The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man. It has indeed been confidently asserted that he killed his two Nephews & his Wife, but it has also been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to beleive true; & if this is the case, it may also be affirmed that he did not kill his Wife, for if Perkin Warbeck was really the Duke of York, why might not Lambert Simnel be the Widow of Richard. Whether innocent or guilty, he did not reign long in peace, for Henry Tudor E. of Richmond as great a Villain as ever lived, made a great fuss about getting the Crown & having killed the King at the battle of Bosworth, he succeeded to it.”

Dickens, on the other hand, fell firmly into the camp that believed Richard to be guilty. As he put it in A Child’s History of England, “While he was on this journey, King Richard stayed a week at Warwick. And from Warwick he sent instructions home for one of the wickedest murders that ever was done—the murder of the two young princes, his nephews, who were shut up in the Tower of London.” Or, as Sam Weller puts it rather more memorably in The Pickwick Papers: “Business first, pleasure arterwards, as King Richard the Third said when he stabbed the t'other king in the Tower, afore he smothered the babbies.”

With the greatest of novelists disagreeing on the subject, can we hope that any solution to the mystery by us humbler folk will meet with universal acceptance? Probably not—but given the direction of current literary trends, I’m banking on the possibility of the mystery being solved through a book called The Zombie Princes in the Tower or Richard III: The Vampire King. The world is waiting breathlessly—though not, mind you, bloodlessly—for a work in this vein.
Susan's third medieval novel, THE STOLEN CROWN


On May Day, 1464, six-year-old Katherine Woodville, daughter of a duchess who has married a knight of modest means, awakes to find her gorgeous older sister, Elizabeth, in the midst of a secret marriage to King Edward IV. It changes everything—for Kate and for England.

Then King Edward dies unexpectedly. Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, is named protector of Edward and Elizabeth's two young princes, but Richard's own ambitions for the crown interfere with his duties...
Lancastrians against Yorkists: greed, power, murder, and war. As the story unfolds through the unique perspective of Kate Woodville, it soon becomes apparent that not everyone is wholly evil—or wholly good.
Author, Susan Higginbotham
Susan Higginbotham is the author of two historical fiction novels. The Traitor’s Wife, her first novel, is the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Silver Award for historical fiction and is a Gold Medalist, Historical/Military Fiction, 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards. She writes her own historical fiction blog and is a contributor to the blog Yesterday Revisited. Higginbotham has worked as an editor and an attorney, and lives in North Carolina with her family. For more information, please visit

Follow Susan on her Blog Tour for The Stolen Crown:
March 1: Christy English
March 3: Pop Syndicate's Book Addict
March 4: Rundpinne
March 5: Queen of Happy Endings
March 9: The Burton Review
March 10: Psychotic State
March 12: Laura's Reviews
March 15: Fresh Fiction
March 16: Devourer of Books
March 22: Beth Fish Reads
March 24: Historical Hussies
March 26: Peeking Between the Pages
March 30: Historical Tapestry
March 31: So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Sourcebooks is sponsoring two copies of THE STOLEN CROWN for USA and Canada residents only.
The catch:
You have to answer this question:
What do you think happened to the Princes in the tower?
Leave your comment with an email address so I can contact the winners.

+2 entries: post a graphic link in your blog's Sidebar linking to this post.

Giveaway ends March 27th. Good Luck!
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