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  Christopher Heron breaks ties with his Northumbrian family (except for his beloved sister Meg) and sets his lodestar on gaining service in the household of Richard Duke of Gloucester. Christopher’s skills as a knight and lutist, as well as being circumspect when needed raise him higher than he’d dreamed possible – although when his Meg desperately needs him he forgets the vow he made to come to her whenever and wherever she needed him – and forever earns her enmity. Christopher finds himself in the thick of things as intrigue and treachery abound in the aftermath of the death of Edward IV – one attempt has already been made on the life of the young princes – can they be brought to safety? Once Richard takes the crown, peace comes to England for a time and Christopher is offered a wealthy heiress as his bride – albeit one spoiled by a doting father who despises Christopher. Can they surmount the odds and find happiness? Will they survive the invasion of That-Upstart-Henry Tudor in the aftermath of the Battle of Bosworth Field?

I have to say I enjoyed this novel a great deal, and found it quite refreshing compared to most of what we’re getting on this period from some of today’s latest and *cough* greatest historical fiction writers. No sanctified Richard and Anne nor evil, grasping Woodvilles here, nor too many “tis”, “certes” or “woe” is me, just well-balanced, nicely rounded characters. I very much enjoyed watching Christopher develop as his priorities grew and changed and he realizes what matters most – the love of one’s family. I have to say though, a favorite character was Christopher’s servant Perkin who he rescued as a thieving street urchin, and I really enjoyed his antics and street wise resourcefulness. Their first meeting and his subsequent bath – priceless.All in all a well-rounded entertaining read and definitely recommended for die-hard Ricardians and it includes an interesting and believable take on the fate of the Princes in the Tower. The middle part got a tad bit slow and I almost gave it four stars, but once events began leading to the final battle it aftermath I didn’t come up for air until the end. That said, the be-all to end-all novel on Richard III is still Penman’s fabulous The Sunne In Splendour. I know the size of it is intimidating but it’s well worth it. The Lodestar is out of print and a bit spendy, but shop around the online sellers there are still a few lower prices issues to be had, but not for long. Five stars.

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