Richard III (Paperback)
Fact and Fiction
King Richard III remains one of the most infamous and recognisable monarchs in English or British history, despite only sitting on the throne for two years and fifty-eight days. His hold on the popular imagination is largely due to the fictional portrayal of him by William Shakespeare which, combined with the workings of five centuries of rumour and gossip, has created two opposing versions of Richard. In fiction he is the evil, scheming murderer who revels in his plots, but many of the facts point towards a very different man.
Dissecting a real Richard III from the fictional versions that have taken hold is made difficult by the inability to discern motives in many instances, leaving a wide gap for interpretation that can be favourable or damning in varying degrees. It is the facts that will act as the scalpel to begin the operation of finding a truth obscured by fiction.
Richard III may have been a monster, a saint, or just a man trying to survive, but any view of him should be based in the realities of his life, not the myths built on rumour and theatre. How much of what we think we know about England’s most controversial monarch will remain when the facts are sifted from the fictions?
To me, the history of the Plantagenets and the Tudors, is the original story of the Game of Thrones. Richard the III, thanks to stories passed down and to William Shakespeare, is the ultimate villain, hated by all, physically deformed, and the devil reincarnate. Matthew Lewis sets out to educate us all that these stories are mostly just that, stories. Perhaps history simply needed a truly vicious figure, and Richard the III was always it. Stricken with a bad case of scoliosis, which got worse with age, he supposedly looked the part. Not only is this very short book (only 127 pages) simply beautiful to look at, inside, the pages are a lovely gloss filled with wonderful and historic photographs. But did he have anything to do with the supposed murders of the boys in the tower. I guess we’ll never truly have that answer.GoodReads, Ellie Potts Barrett
Featured inSouth Shropshire Journal & Mid-Wales Journal, 3rd May 2019
Was King Richard's 'naked villainy' just fabrication?Shrewsbury Chronicle, Bridgnorth Journal, Market Drayton Advertiser, May 2nd 2019
Author Matt Lewis tells Toby Neal that the evil reputation of Richard III needs to be reassessed
King Richard III – an alternative viewShropshire Star, April 2019
HE’S been portrayed as one of history’s biggest baddies – and Shakespeare shares the blame for that.
But now historian and author Matt Lewis is out to right the wrong done to Richard III, who was killed on the field of battle at Bosworth and buried under a car park. Although of course, it wasn’t a car park back in 1485.
In his book “Richard III” 42-year-old Matt, of Six Ashes, near Bridgnorth, seeks to separate the fact from the fiction surrounding one of the most notorious monarchs in history.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the way that it was set out in sections so you could easily dip in and out of it, perfect for those who want to know more but don’t have the background. If you’ve watched ‘The White Queen’ and want to know more about Richard, I’d recommend this book as it clearly separates fact from fiction without assuming the reader is a complete ninny. Some books, in trying to set things out clearly, simplify the facts too much, but Lewis doesn’t make this error.Tudor Blogger
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There is so much written about Richard III (good and bad), so it can be difficult to know where to begin or to know whether you are reading a balanced and unbiased account. This book, however, is a great place to start learning about one of British histories most controversial figures. The book has short and snappy chapters but still weaves together detailed facts with an easy to follow narrative. -The Tudor Laura
I liked how the book looks at Richard from different perspectives, particularly the parts that discuss what influenced Shakespeare to portray Richard as the infamous villain that has come to dominate popular opinion. The burning question you all want an answer to (did Richard kill the Princes in the Tower?) is also discussed in the book! There’s also a great collection of the author’s own photographs throughout the book.
I think any of you interested in the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors would really like this book.
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Matthew Lewis’ writing was easy to read and meant that I was actually learning when reading this book. I found it very interesting and really enjoyed the layout... This book definitely deserves a lot of attention as it provides a lot of insight into Richard III despite it being only 127 pages long! If you have any sort of interest in British history, including the British monarchy then definitely pick this book up! I highly recommend it to lovers of history & non-fiction.Life and Tea Blog
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Click here to listen to author interviewBBC Radio Northampton with presenter Bernie Keith, 4th April 2019
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Click here to listen to author interviewBBC Radio Leicester with presenter Jo Hayward, 26th March 2019
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As featured inThe Bookseller Buyers Guide