|Look at the extreme curve in Richard III's spine, from scoliosis. From The New York Times and Agence France-Presse - Getty Images|
Thanks to a certain playwright named William Shakespeare, Richard III has come down to us through the ages as a hunchbacked, scheming murderer of brothers and children. there have been many authors and historians who have happily reiterated this party line, while there have been just as many who have disputed the portrayal of "evil King Richard" in fiction and non-fiction.
|Boris Karloff as Mord listens closely to his King's (Basil Rathbone) instructions|
In the "give Richard a chance" camp, still probably the best book to start with is Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time. Part detective story, part history, Tey lays out a very convincing case for questioning the old position of Richard III as a murderous uncle. For readers who love historical fiction that is amply researched, Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne In Splendour is an excellent book, for telling the story of Richard III and his shining brother, Edward IV.
In Egypt (and many other places) they keep digging under old temples and finding even older temples, so we shouldn't be surprised to find a king below a parking lot. What will be interesting is how much will this skeleton be able to tell us about Richard III, his life, his times. How close have some of our fiction and non-fiction depictions of this controversial king come — and which ones, the bad or the good ones — will become the new accepted history?