Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Daughter of Time

I'd never heard of The Daughter of Time and always known it existed.  I know that doesn't make sense, but it's perhaps the first well-known book in my preferred sub-genre but until a few months ago, I knew nothing about it.  And yet...when others would mention it, something felt familiar.  Deja novel, I guess.

Inspector Alan Grant broke his leg while chasing a subject.  Not while making a grand leap to arrest the  fleeing felon, but by ignominiously falling into a hole.  Confined to a hospital bed and bored out of his skull, he tries to amuse himself with the pictures of historical figures which his friend, Marta Hallard has brought him.  He fixes on the portrait of Richard III who appears tortured to his eyes, rather than the historical monster of history textbooks.  He decides to read up on Richard, and finds that most of the "contemporary" histories aren't, but were written by Tudor courtiers.  With an adrift American doing the legwork, Grant discovers that Richard didn't have the motive, and may not have had the means to kill the Princes in the Tower, but another man *did*.  I won't name Tey's historical culprit here, but I will say that it makes sense to me.  As Sr. Maureen Christi told us in 9th grade, Shakespeare knew how to flatter his patrons.  Richard III may very well have been a victim of the playwright's lasting popularity.

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