L. M. Ollie's Author's Comments

Why write "On The Trail of King Richard III"?

In 1983, all I knew about King Richard III, I had learned from Shakespeare. It seemed sufficient and I was happy with that until one sullen autumn day when I inadvertently found myself at the Tower of London embroiled in a heated debate with four individuals, three of whom were rabid Ricardians. The fourth held out, firmly entrenched in the Shakespearean imagery of a monstrous and lascivious monarch with a propensity for murder - and seduction. I stood somewhere in the middle while all the while wondering why anyone would care so deeply, and passionately, about a king who died five hundred years ago after a reign which lasted a mere 25 months! So, perhaps it's fair to say that I began my journey perplexed.

My husband's business sent him to the U.K. over the next two years. He worked, I toured. During my travels I met more Ricardians perhaps because I put myself in a position to do so. Not a difficult task having done even the most elementary research. Various historical sites from St. George's Chapel, Windsor in the south to Middleham Castle high in the moors of Yorkshire; all of them have unique King Richard III connections. I talked, and listened, to a bewildering variety of individuals, each with their own special, and frequently it would seem, exaggerated slant on history. Occasionally I was bombarded with information which I did not understand or harangued for my non-committal stance until in sheer self-defence I began to systematically gather the facts around me, ploughing through a bewildering assortment of reference material either purchased or borrowed. It would prove to be a prodigious exercise. The notes which resulted from this form the basis of the book.

I'm not the only one. Check out:

* AL PACINO'S FILM - LOOKING FOR RICHARD (1996)
* IAN McKELLEN'S RENDERING OF SHAKESPEARE'S RICHARD III (1996)

The Story line:

The story line is pure fiction woven through with historical fact. The central theme is obsession - the enemy of rational thought. Many of my conclusions have been arrived at using simple common-sense. As far as the fates of the Princes in the Tower and George, Duke of Clarence (supposedly drowned in a vat of malmsey wine!), a private tour of the Tower of London in the company of a Yeoman Warder helped, although he refused to confirm - or deny - my working hypotheses.

A novel must in the first instance entertain and this, I hope, I have accomplished. The unique historical conclusions will undoubtedly spark controversy.

The main characters:

The main characters in the novel are Laura Kempe and Gail Frazer. Remarkably dissimilar in both looks and temperament, they have remained good friends and travelling companions throughout their ten-year relationship. Laura is married to Gail's brother, Roger but the marriage is not a happy one.

Caught between two conflicting loyalties Gail hedged, optimistically hoping for a happy resolve while all the while her jealousy of Laura and her freespirited lifestyle combined with good looks, a lithe athletic body and a quick brain, festered.

Against this backdrop of hidden emotions, Laura and Gail began their tour, each acutely aware of truths unspoken and relationships betrayed.

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