The Blood of Princes

Written by Derek Birks
Review by Martin Bourne

This is the latest story of the Elder clan, a fictional family living in the turbulent times of the wars of the Roses. Edward IV has died, and Richard of Gloucester has taken the young heir into “protective custody”. He is also arresting his rivals and any and all of their adherents, which unfortunately includes our heroes. Can they navigate their way out of the political turmoil of the succession?

I have a lot of time for self-publishers. Writing 140,000 words of creative English is not easy, and publishing and marketing it are at least as difficult and time-consuming. However, I have to point out the problems.

Firstly, because the “Princes in the Tower” and the accession of Richard III are so familiar, we know the Elders are on the wrong side of this power struggle and it’s not going to end well. Technically, the story is mostly told in dialogue, and it rather presupposes familiarity with earlier episodes. The point of view wobbles occasionally, and many characters are not well developed, so their deaths don’t elicit much of a reaction.

But the biggest weakness is the grafting of modern morality onto late medieval history. This is a common problem with historical novels; it’s very difficult to get readers to root for heroes whose opinions they find repugnant, but an attempt really has to be made.