The Court of the Midnight King by Freda Warrington
Pocket Books PPBK: ISBN 0743415671 PubDate:June
Review by Iain Emsley
400 pages List price £7.99
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Freda Warrington is a singular writer, one who has magnificently developed into a creator of deeply romantic fiction. Having written a variety of fantasies, she now turns herself to alternative history, set near her native Leicester.
In The Court of the Midnight King, she imagines an alternate England, one where Richard III does not die at the battle of Bosworth. A young knight, Raphael, envisions a dark future where Richard dies, where the history will be written by the Tudor victors. Rather than remaining a purely Christian state, pagan beliefs are alive and abundant within the women of England, if not fully accepted. History splits at the battle and in one strand, Warrington allows the possibility that Richard may have survived. Intercut with the text is a mediaeval studentís search for the historical truth to Richard, sceptical that the official history is strictly accurate.
Warrington has delivered her strongest and most developed novel to date, with well developed characters. Richard, rather than being the hunchback of Tudor propaganda, is a darkly erotic figure, a romantic hero in the vein of Mr Darcy. Katherine and Raphael move in slightly paler shades, but manage to support him throughout.
Tightly honed and thought out, The Court of The Midnight King is a historical novel to look out for, especially for anybody who is a fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley.