Saturday, October 12, 2013

The King's Grave

Langley, Philippa and Jones, Michael K. The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

Philippa Langley was behind the discovery of King Richard III's body under the car park in England. This book gives an account of Richard's life, showing differences in the real Richard III and the Tudor version of Richard III, as well as the account of the discovery of his resting place. The authors alternated between the two portions of the story, and that particular arrangement did not work well for me. I was far more interested in the events leading up to the discovery and the archaeological dig and testing done to determine this was indeed Richard than in a reconstruction of his life which has been the subject of numerous other histories. I felt that more details of the dig itself and of the testing and results could have been presented if the authors had left parts of the story of Richard which had no bearings on the forensics presented in the volume to other histories. I was quite interested in the DNA analysis and was disappointed that there was not more on that presented in the book and that there was no appendix presenting detailed findings of the mitochondrial match. Although I was disappointed in some aspects of the book, it was interesting to read about the discovery and understand a little more of what drove the team and of the cooperation they had from others to make the discovery. This review is based on an advance e-galley received from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review be written.

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