I'm going to do a little something different and review a novel about Richard III, This Time by Joan Szechtman. There's going to be a trilogy of these Plantagenet time-travel books. I'm waiting on #2 (which I just ordered from Amazon), Loyalty Binds Me (if you don't know, that's Richard's motto) as it's supposed to have Richard returning to present-day England and somehow getting arrested for the murders of the Princes in the Tower, and how this is going to be pulled off I'd like to know, as ya would! :P
I'll read pretty much anything about Richard III, being a staunch Ricardian. I enjoyed the novel, but it was both interesting and a tad disappointing. The whole concept in and of itself was intriguing, but the book was on the skinny side and I didn't feel it was fleshed out sufficiently.
Richard was literally seized out of Bosworth mere seconds before he would've been killed and a body dumped over there in his place so as not to disrupt history and create one of those pesky paradoxes. Apparently the time-travel-zapping process cold-cocks one (as well as messes with one's molecular structure), and so Richard awakens strapped down to a hospital bed in the mad scientist's lab, just as a precaution, in case he says WTF? and comes up swinging. Here I thought the author did a good job depicting his inner WTF?, he's lollygagging there listening to modern American-speak going OK it kinda sounds like English, but I still can't understand a bloody word these folk are saying! Which would be quite true, as modern English as we're used to hearing it really didn't start evolving into it until Tudor times (compare The Faierie Queen to The Canterbury Tales or Beowulf in their contemporary versions of English to get an idea of what I mean by that....if you're feeling linguistically brave).
I had a distinct feeling she was told to edit (in fact, I found out she was; I read an interview with her after I read the book), because Richard just adapts to the 21st century from the 15th waaay too quickly. I mean, think of the learning curve involved.....a 19th century guy would have an issue with the technology developments alone even if there were no language barrier. But in no time at all Dickon's not only got modern American English mastered, he's using a computer, driving a car, flying in airplanes (that was one of the bits she had to remove, she said, alas), taking college courses as he's developed this brainfart that if they can bring him back, they can jolly well go fetch his wife Anne and son Edward as well, as their absence had zero effect on history. Her writing style is fluid, but I wish her editor hadn't been so ruthless and taken out a lot of Richard's adaption to the modern world.
Plus the mad scientist, after *studying* him, wants to ship Richard back to Bosworth. Dickon's all um, NO. I mean, he was only 33 when he was killed in battle, you can't blame him for wanting a life and getting his family back (since Edward and Anne predeceased him).
But since no one can tell just when Anne began suffering from what was likely TB (AKA the consump), there's no guarantee modern medicine would cure her. She just can't pop out of history too long before her actual death, when arresting the progress of the disease would be impossible.
Ned, now, may be a different story, as from his symptoms it's determined the poor kid demised of a burst appendix and if he can be brought to sunny California as soon as he gets sick, easy operation nowadays. The small issue of handy corpses of a similar look to keep throwing back into the 1400s like this becomes a problem for the mad scientist, as it would. People generally don't donate dead 8-year-old's to science for study. Conundrum. And how to stop the mad scientist from restoring Richard to his rightful place in time....dead? Hmmm.
Meanwhile, Dickon falls for a friend of the daughter of one of the mad scientist's team, Sarah. This part was very true to the 1400s, as Dickon is totally shocked to find out he's been knocking boots with a *gasp* Jewess! With that whole matrilineal descent thing, that means if they have a kid together, the child is also considered Jewish. And Jews were the pariahs of Europe in Richard's Roman Catholic day. Even in modern times, he attends Mass daily. Angst.
Dickon is also mightily unfussed about all the heinous crimes laid at his doorstep, the PITT in particular. He wants to go open a can of Whoop-Ass on Alison Weir for it, he's that irked. Jeez, do I look hunchbacked? he gripes. The more he reads and surfs the 'net, the more pissed off he gets about it (I reckon this may be laying the groundwork for book #2 where he returns to England). Can't do anything about it unless he wants people to think he's nuts for *claiming* to be Richard III. Sort of like people in those old movies in insane asylums who think they're Napoleon and walk around with their hand in their shirt all the time LOL The nice young men in their clean white coats would definitely take Dickon away if he started telling people he was really the last Plantagenet king.
So he then starts learning lots of science in an attempt to beat the mad scientist at his own game, stay in California, and save his son's life by getting him to the present for an appendectomy.
Edward of Middleham predeceased both parents, so if successful in his endeavors to retrieve his son, Richard's going to have to explain why Mummy's mouldering in a 500-year-old tomb, and they're not.
And o BTW, here's Daddy's new main squeeze, she's a Jewess. This is called a hospital and look out the window, see the pretty cars?
But Daddy, I'm 8 and full of codeine and staples, I don't get it! Where's Mummy? Where's my sword? Where's my pony?
OK, you know I paraphrased that train of Dickon's thought LMAO
I just wish the transition bits to the 21st century had been fleshed out more, as it would've lengthened the book and added a ton of ambience to the tale. Great concept, though, and hopefully the next 2 volumes will be better developed.
I'm waiting on the UPS guy impatiently for Loyalty Binds Me to see what happens in England!