“Face value is no value at all, and truth is not to be found therein.”

Sponsored by the Duke of Burgundy, Hans Memling becomes a citizen of Bruges and master painter – and his favorite model is the Duke’s beloved daughter Marie (perhaps a bit too favorite, but I won’t spoil it for you). One night, Hans plays host to some mysterious guests from England and that party includes Edward and Dick Plant, and a strong friendship begins between them even after he discovers their true identity – Edward IV and Richard Duke of Gloucester.

Years pass and when Hans travels to England to finish the long put-off triptych for Sir John Donne, Hans once again meets with his old *friends* and upon the death of Edward he’s assigned as a tutor (teaching painting) to the King’s young sons in the Tower of London. Will he be able to save the princes or will That Upstart Henry Tudor destroy them all? And that’s all I’m telling, I don’t do book reports.

This was a very quick, entertaining read with a refreshing twist on an oft-told tale, and Morgan manages to bring the basics of most of those old *legends* into his story – although thank God no woe-is-me or Melusine. Whew. I liked getting an *inside look* at Memling’s painting career (you will go googling for images, trust me), but I didn’t pick up a real *passion* from him for his work either. While I did enjoy it, I consider this very much a *what-if* story and should not be read as a definitive interpretation of this period’s history, nor what truly happened to the princes. I suspect some of the twists Morgan brings in might send the Ricardian purists howling to the RIII Yahoo boards (I hear it gets ugly there on occasion), but I’d definitely recommend this for those looking for a lighter read on the period. 4/5 stars.

*****
Oops, almost forget. No I didn’t get this from the author or his publisher. A very nice friend of mine from Goodreads offered it to me. Thanks Claire.

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