Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I finally finished Ann Wroe's the Perfect Prince, aka Perkin: a Story of Deception. For the longest time, I've been buying these virtuous books, and never finishing the reading of them. Hopefully this'll break that particular habit. It was a fairly interesting book, but I suppose it helps if Tey's the Daughter of Time has warped your fragile little mind. The book is, of course, a life of Perkin Warbeck, otherwise known as Richard, the Duke of York. Wroe's style tends towards the New Journalistic, and she throws in a lot of period-color commentary on social and religious ideas and habits of the early-Renaissance, late-Medieval times, as reflected in Warbeck's multiple alleged lives.

She never really commits to whether he was Piers Warbecque or Richard Plantagenet, preferring to revel in the ambiguities of the evidence. In the epilogue, she starts up a whole new line of inquiry, indicating some evidence that he might have been, in the end, truly a puppet of Margaret of Burgundy. I'd have to call foul on this sort of "evidence introduced in the epilogue", as it's just bad historical form, but her conclusive, fantastical scene of Warbeck drawn through the torments of Purgatory and brought before the Judgement Seat, for one last interrogative, asking what name he would give there in the final reckoning, makes up for many scholarly sins.

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