The Medievalist, By Ann-Marie Lacy

Review by Tommy Brannon

What is a medievalist? An expert or specialist in medieval history, literature, philosophy, etc. Also, a person greatly attracted to the art, culture, spirit, etc.

Set in both the 21st and the 15th centuries, The Medievalist is an historical romance novel about Jayne Lyons, an American archeologist and historian, and her ancestor Richard III, King of England (1483-1485). Readers should be familiar with the plays by William Shakespeare, “Henry VI” and “Richard III,” in which Richard is depicted as a sadistic hunchback villain who will stop at nothing, including having his young nephews murdered, to get and keep the throne. This book depicts Richard differently. 

 The fictional story line parallels the real events of 2012 when Richard’s remains were found buried under what is now a car park (parking lot), where once stood the Greyfriars Friary Churchin Leicester, England. Richard had been buried without ceremony within the walls of the church after being killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in August 1485. Richard was the last king of England killed in battle, and his defeat and death mark the end of the War of the Roses and the medieval period in England.

Jayne believes she is a descendent of Richard and is obsessed with finding the truth about her ancestor, whom she believes has been maligned by history and the Bard of Avon. Since, generally, the victors write the history books, the subject of her Ph.D. dissertation is to prove that King Richard III is innocent of the murder of the Princes in the Tower.

She joins the archeological dig in Leicesterthat found Richard’s remains and, while standing in the pit, picks up a talisman next to the bones that bears the heraldic blue boar of the last Plantagenet king.  She is cast back into the brutal 15th century, in the middle of Richard’s army camp. She promptly loses it, thus blocking her time travel back to the future and her previous life.

Jayne finds herself in her nightshirt in the midst of a medieval army camp; she is assaulted by soldiers, rescued, and befriended by a Franciscan friar – Brother Cynneth, and soon gets to meet her ancestor who is not deformed at all. Her thoughts are that if the deformity were disproven, then the rest of the disparaging story of a psychopathic killer would be untrue as well. 

Each chapter is told in first person narrative by different characters, i.e., Jayne or Richard. This gives the reader a different perspective based on who is telling the story.  

About the Author: Anne-Marie Lacy is an attorney in Huntsville, Alabama and foxhunts with Cedar Knob Hounds, near Lynnville, Tennessee. She is also author of The Masters Ball. The Medievalist is published by City Owl Press.

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