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Richard III has the most controversial reputation of any English king. If he was the murderer of his two nephews and (as many contemporaries thought) the poisoner of his own wife, he has a place among the foremost villains of history. If however his only real crime was to have been on the losing side, then he is the victim of an extraordinary and enduring smear campaign.

Which version is correct? Whether true or false, the legend of Richard III's villainy has embedded itself in the nation's consciousness. In this clear, careful narrative, first published in 1983 (the 500th anniversary of a year in which three kings occupied the throne of England) Giles St. Aubyn relates the violent and blood-stained story, his cool, witty style contrasting with the brutality of the period he describes.

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