What I'm reading, what I'm thinking of reading & what I've read. And stuff.
This is probably the most unusual Richard III novel I've ever read, and I've read a few. A young history student in present day UK sees a video of Olivier's Richard III and is instantly obsessed. She (well, had to be a woman, really) starts having odd visions of the Wars of the Roses, but the Mediaeval England we see through these visions are strangely distorted from our knowledge of the period. Possibly the most radical change is that there is a flourishing goddess cult, involving women from all parts of society and dealing in what I suppose would be called earth magic for want of a better term. The visions follow the lives of two young people, one a knight in Richards service, and the other, inevitably, Richards lover. Then it starts getting complicated. The knight starts having visions of Richard as recorded in our histories; at one point he dreams an entire scene from Shakespeare's play. The whole thing comes out as a bit of a mish-mash of new-age sensibilities and fan-girl wish fulfilment. But oddly enough I enjoyed it. The author writes with a vivid pan, deftly painting beautiful, vibrant scenes.
London broke upon Raphael like some crazed demonic carnival out of a fog. Houses stood crammed together and teetering with signs of merchants and alehouses thrust like a morass of banners into the steamy air. The streets glistened like stream beds. Pointed roofs ran with sunlight. And the crowd along the streets never in his life had Raphael seen such an array of folk, such wealth and exuberance. Their clothes were like jewels, blue and red and green; their headgear was fashioned in ostentations imitation of royalty, plump velvet cushions crowning the men, gossamer drapery flowing over the hair of women. Gold glinted upon their hands as they waved. Their cheers deafened and thrilled him like the blare of battle horns.