Tey attempts to portray Richard III in a positive light, I am a befuddled as to her avenue of approach. She uses the novel as a format from which she can critique prior histories of Richard without actually establishing a solid thesis. By not establishing a thesis, Tey is able to use a train of thoughts in an attempt to demonstrate Richard as he truly was. While this works wonderfully for an attempt at solving out a “conspiracy theory”, this does nothing to create an actual fact-based historical argument.
Tey does do a solid job, however, on the explanation on how history is shaped and why it is shaped in the ways that we see today. If Richard III was as benevolent as Tey establishes, the Tudor’s depiction of Richard as a murderous tyrant reverberates across a common thread in history: people are what those who follow portray them as. While children for the past hundred years or so have learned that George Washington was an excellent general or Abraham Lincoln believed in the need for equality between white men and enslaved blacks, it is only because we who have followed in the footsteps of these men have painted them to be that way.
I must admit, having read the various pieces of historical fiction lying around in AHEC’s gift shop, that Tey presents her take on history in an interesting way. By using the detective figure, she can use police methodology to create an interesting chain of thought to “solve” what truly happened. But by using this, Tey also creates her biggest fault; deductive reasoning. With Grant trying to solve history as if it were a crime, his method of reasoning goes against even the basic historical principles. By creating history based on what he thinks must have happened in the missing spaces rather than using the documents to prove what happened in the spaces, Tey through Grant takes what may or may not have been a possible position on Richard III and ruins all of her credibility. But as a historical novel? Tey manages to deliver a solid reading experience sure to intrigue even those with no interest in Medieval England.