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In the year 1464, the Kingdom is engulfed by civil war as the renowned houses of Lancaster and York fight to the death for the crown of England. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, arrives, aged twelve, for the safety of Middleham Castle to begin his training for knighthood. His new companions discover he can change from kindness to cold rage within the wink of an eye. Men, it was said, watched him with wary eyes, for they knew when the young pup found his teeth, he would make a dangerous enemy. Far in the north, Margaret of Anjou, warrior Queen to Henry VI, prepares to fight against the advancing armies of Edward IV. Why does she abandon her husband, and flee to France vowing never to return? Who blackmails her, seven years later, to join forces with her most hated enemy, to return and fight once again for the crown of England? King Edward IV, tall, handsome, and clever, is a brilliant warrior, whose Achilles’ heel is women; he loves them all. What dark forces drive him into a secret marriage that rips his kingdom apart? He is forced to fight Louis XI of France, and the mighty Earl of Warwick, not only for his crown but also his life. From the courts of Edward IV, Louis XI, and Margaret of Anjou, comes intrigue, betrayal, witchcraft, and love. The Dreams of Kings weaves plots and characters together to make a roller-coaster read of the period they call the WAR of the ROSES.
The author behind this story is David Saunders, born in Plymouth in 1949. After attending a grammar school, he spent six years serving in the Royal Airforce, followed by eight years of working for Estee Lauder, and then starting his own manufacturing business. David’s journey to writing ‘The Dreams of Kings’ started when he watched the films of Henry V and Richard III. Here, his fascination for the war of the roses grew, until he described “I just had to put pen to paper and write this book”. David was also inspired to write by his mother, an avid lover of history. He told us an anecdote of such a time… “I remember the Laurence Olivier films of Henry V and Richard III had just been rereleased and she wanted to see Henry V. I have three sisters and a brother, and none of us wanted to spend an afternoon watching Shakespeare but I ended up being the one who agreed to keep mum company and so I towed along. I was 13 or 14 and thought I was in for a really boring time. I’d done Shakespeare at school and had found it all rather dry and boring. But as soon as it started I fell in love with the language, the history, the story. And when we went back to see Richard III that just cemented it for me. I was enthralled and I’ve been in love with our history ever since”. From this point David took an interest in researching history, particularly when his view to write came about. He found that some of the history from the period of Richard III was missing, questions went unanswered and historians did not know the whole story. David decided to fill these gaps with that he surmised may have happened, and so the book ‘The Dreams of Kings’ was born.
For David, the most difficult aspect of the writing process was finding time between life and family commitments. He told us that it takes a lot of self discipline to finish a novel, something we do not doubt! However, the most rewarding aspect for David was seeing the book take on a life of its own and the characters finding their voices. David also enjoyed the research that he undertook, he told us… “what was surprising to me when I researched for the book was how closely all the royal houses of Europe were interlinked through marriage. Also every King, Queen and noble man was trying to manipulate the others to their own advantage”.
A unique topic that you may not be aware of before reading ‘The Dreams of Kings’ is the double-dealing acts; the greed and lust for powers that all the principle characters have. David told us that they are never satisfied, “they schemed, fought and killed each other for more land, more power and more money”. David hopes that people who read his story will be inspired to love history, and they will go on to read and study the factual period and the people who lived in it.
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