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Old 04-16-2019, 12:10 AM   #31
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Ah, but the American was writing the book, so he would get the credit!
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:24 AM   #32
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I thought the audiobook was just fine; I like Derek Jacobi. The problem I had was with so many names and relationships and sources, which I suppose couldn't be helped.
I normally like Derek Jacobi as a narrator, but have frequently found his portrayal of American voices jarring, as I did in this case. But the real problem was the book itself -- really, unless you're much better grounded in the Plantagenets and Tudors than anyone educated in the US is likely to be, it's really hard to follow the various characters around Richard. So being able to quickly look up various folk really helps, and that's easier for the eBook than an audio book.

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Grant seemed like my stereotypical idea of a rather snooty, entitled Britisher who looked down on underlings because they're underlings. But I didn't find it especially offensive. It did annoy me that the American did all the legwork but Grant gets the credit.
There's so much wrong with that statement it's hard to know where to begin. But let's start with who gets the credit. The writer gets the credit. Dedications are free. (I know, I've had the opportunity to dedicate >3 dozen books over the years. No one but the person receiving the dedication really cares.)
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:27 AM   #33
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I believe Catlady was referring to the only credit worth having: credit with the reader of this book. At the end the reader is left with the impression that Grant has kindly bestowed his knowledge on the American, wanting nothing in return. So in the fictional world the credit may seem to be with the American, but in the real world the reader knows (or seems to know) which character deserves the credit.

And I'm with Catlady on this, at least to some extent. It was Carradine that acted as the true historian, referencing the work of past historians. Grant is there to act as the reader's stand-in, to make all the wrong assumptions only to have them refuted by the next layer of information revealed. Oh, and he's also there to make disparaging remarks about historians and their lack of ability to see what makes sense. If only that had been tongue-in-cheek, this might have been amusing: the real conclusion to this should have been Grant recognising how ironic it was that he spent a book criticising the ignorance of those whose work he relied on to expose his own ignorance.

But we face the same problem with the painting he asks everyone to judge, a painting at least two removes from the original painting, itself an artists rendering of the original visage. Why is Grant's phrenological belief in faces never exposed for the farce this painting of a painting of a painting exposes it to be? Sure, I really like that painting - compare it to the rat-like features of Henry VII shown on Wikipedia at the moment - but to try and read whether that face was capable of dispatching two young boys is ludicrous in the extreme. Only the doctor got it right when he said: "I suppose villainy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

I actually like the idea of using the painting as a way into the story, but it seems a big mistake to have an experienced detective portrayed as believing such nonsense.

Last edited by gmw; 04-16-2019 at 01:35 AM. Reason: fix some typos
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:46 AM   #34
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You amaze me! I gave Carradine all the credit he deserved for all the documents he found. About the only contribution Grant made was in suggesting Carradine look for a smear campaign about Richard in France after Carradine found one in the fen country.

To me the book was all about going to the primary sources and not to secondary sources, ie the documents of the time rather than reading and trusting history books as the sole source of any case you are trying to build.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:12 AM   #35
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You amaze me! I gave Carradine all the credit he deserved for all the documents he found. About the only contribution Grant made was in suggesting Carradine look for a smear campaign about Richard in France after Carradine found one in the fen country.
Grant got Carradine onto the more interesting study in the first place, which is where Carradine's sense of obligation comes from, even though it is obviously (even in 1950s) a path well studied by others (and so one should not be too quick to jump to conclusions - I'm looking at you, supposedly professional inspector Alan Grant!).

But despite all the work by the "Woolly lamb" (our author was happy to spread the name calling around), we still had all that awkward back and forth at the end where Carradine was trying to offer Grant the chance to take this forward on his own. It seemed apparent to me that the author expects us to think of this as Grant's project, graciously handed on to the lesser Carradine; after all, we already know what Grant thinks of historians, and that is what Carradine is going off to become ... now that he has been pointed down the right path by our hero.

It seems you got a different impression of the ending. I suppose that should not surprise me, my reaction to this book has obviously been tainted by my reaction to the main protagonist.

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To me the book was all about going to the primary sources and not to secondary sources, ie the documents of the time rather than reading and trusting history books as the sole source of any case you are trying to build.
We might say that the first message is not to rely fictional sources (Shakespeare). The second is probably that what you learned in school x years ago could well be out of date by now. Another is that people with bias and prejudice don't make for reliable sources - whether contemporary or not (eg. John Morton and information based on him as a source). And then, with all those things taken into account, primary sources - where available - are preferable to secondary sources. If this last is a priority of the book, then the thing with the painting should have been addressed, because is that most definitely not a primary source, and that's how this all got started in the first place.

And at the end we have Carradine going off to write a history book - a secondary source that the our lesson for today has been not to trust. Is there a mixed message in here somewhere?
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:35 AM   #36
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In fairness to Grant, he is stuck on his back at this point, not even able to sit up in bed to read, but having to prop things up to read at all. I'd probably rumple a dust jacket in that scenario too.
This is definitely something worth taking into account - not just with the mistreatment of books, but also in his reaction to his nurses. And it is something I tried to consider, but it may have been a mistake to have read The Man in the Queue recently. That attempt left me predisposed to dislike Grant, and so the opening into this story just fed straight into that.

And, having finished this book, I didn't really find anything to make me think better of Grant. I'm not really expecting everyone to join me in this, I realise that part of it is just a voice-thing. Some stuff just rubs us the wrong way for whatever reason, just as other stuff rubs us exactly the right way. Well, it seems Tey knows how to get my fur sitting crooked.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:18 AM   #37
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Grant got Carradine onto the more interesting study in the first place, which is where Carradine's sense of obligation comes from, even though it is obviously (even in 1950s) a path well studied by others (and so one should not be too quick to jump to conclusions - I'm looking at you, supposedly professional inspector Alan Grant!).

But despite all the work by the "Woolly lamb" (our author was happy to spread the name calling around), we still had all that awkward back and forth at the end where Carradine was trying to offer Grant the chance to take this forward on his own. It seemed apparent to me that the author expects us to think of this as Grant's project, graciously handed on to the lesser Carradine; after all, we already know what Grant thinks of historians, and that is what Carradine is going off to become ... now that he has been pointed down the right path by our hero.

It seems you got a different impression of the ending. I suppose that should not surprise me, my reaction to this book has obviously been tainted by my reaction to the main protagonist.


We might say that the first message is not to rely fictional sources (Shakespeare). The second is probably that what you learned in school x years ago could well be out of date by now. Another is that people with bias and prejudice don't make for reliable sources - whether contemporary or not (eg. John Morton and information based on him as a source). And then, with all those things taken into account, primary sources - where available - are preferable to secondary sources. If this last is a priority of the book, then the thing with the painting should have been addressed, because is that most definitely not a primary source, and that's how this all got started in the first place.

And at the end we have Carradine going off to write a history book - a secondary source that the our lesson for today has been not to trust. Is there a mixed message in here somewhere?
Nothing wrong with secondary sources, as long as the student reads widely and goes back to the primary sources! (I should explain that I majored in History in my undergraduate degree.)

I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the book more gmw. Better luck next time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:55 AM   #38
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Nothing wrong with secondary sources, as long as the student reads widely and goes back to the primary sources! (I should explain that I majored in History in my undergraduate degree.)

I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the book more gmw. Better luck next time.
Oh my. So you have better reason to dislike Alan Grant than I do! He is really very dismissive of the profession (but then I found him to be dismissive of everything except himself).

And no need to be sorry, I've found my entertainment in other ways. I've always found English history to be morbidly fascinating, like watching a slow train wreck. So many battles across such a small island over so many years; the English have been a blood-thirsty bunch. (I see Catlady mentioned The Lion in Winter; I love that movie and it almost epitomises how I see so much of English history: everyone so civil, professing undying love for one another, while simultaneously bartering their loyalty to claw at the next, already bloody, step up the rung. And the women, when they managed to get the chance of it, were at least as bad as the men.)

Unlike Grant, I have little difficulty in seeing that Richard might suddenly have decided the crown was in reach and decided to take it, or why the mother of the boys might have had no good choice but to accept the situation (she had other children to be concerned about). Motives are not hard to come up with, actual evidence is much harder.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:38 AM   #39
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I normally like Derek Jacobi as a narrator, but have frequently found his portrayal of American voices jarring, as I did in this case. But the real problem was the book itself -- really, unless you're much better grounded in the Plantagenets and Tudors than anyone educated in the US is likely to be, it's really hard to follow the various characters around Richard. So being able to quickly look up various folk really helps, and that's easier for the eBook than an audio book.
I'm not going to be looking up a boatload of historical persons when I'm reading a novel, whether it be an audiobook or text. In a novel especially, it's up to the author to make the historical data easy enough to understand by giving the reader more cues to understand how people and events fit together.

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There's so much wrong with that statement it's hard to know where to begin. But let's start with who gets the credit. The writer gets the credit. Dedications are free. (I know, I've had the opportunity to dedicate >3 dozen books over the years. No one but the person receiving the dedication really cares.)
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I believe Catlady was referring to the only credit worth having: credit with the reader of this book. At the end the reader is left with the impression that Grant has kindly bestowed his knowledge on the American, wanting nothing in return. So in the fictional world the credit may seem to be with the American, but in the real world the reader knows (or seems to know) which character deserves the credit.
This. Seems like we're supposed to think of Grant as the great detective whose ruminations have cracked the case.

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But we face the same problem with the painting he asks everyone to judge, a painting at least two removes from the original painting, itself an artists rendering of the original visage. Why is Grant's phrenological belief in faces never exposed for the farce this painting of a painting of a painting exposes it to be? Sure, I really like that painting - compare it to the rat-like features of Henry VII shown on Wikipedia at the moment - but to try and read whether that face was capable of dispatching two young boys is ludicrous in the extreme. Only the doctor got it right when he said: "I suppose villainy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

I actually like the idea of using the painting as a way into the story, but it seems a big mistake to have an experienced detective portrayed as believing such nonsense.
Yes, too much was made of the painting; it's fine if Grant looks at it himself and thinks it's not the face of a murderer, or if he looks at it and it simply sparks his interest. But to harp on it was dumb. (Though I did like how Tey returned to the painting again at the end.)
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:09 AM   #40
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We might say that the first message is not to rely fictional sources (Shakespeare). The second is probably that what you learned in school x years ago could well be out of date by now. Another is that people with bias and prejudice don't make for reliable sources - whether contemporary or not (eg. John Morton and information based on him as a source). And then, with all those things taken into account, primary sources - where available - are preferable to secondary sources. If this last is a priority of the book, then the thing with the painting should have been addressed, because is that most definitely not a primary source, and that's how this all got started in the first place.

And at the end we have Carradine going off to write a history book - a secondary source that the our lesson for today has been not to trust. Is there a mixed message in here somewhere?
Don't rely on fictional sources, but here's a work of fiction disputing those other works of fiction ...

Primary sources are still giving you only a slice of the reality; historians are supposed to distill a variety of primary sources into something that may be closer to the reality and more trustworthy.

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Unlike Grant, I have little difficulty in seeing that Richard might suddenly have decided the crown was in reach and decided to take it, or why the mother of the boys might have had no good choice but to accept the situation (she had other children to be concerned about). Motives are not hard to come up with, actual evidence is much harder.
Absolutely. Why in the world would Richard NOT have wanted to take the crown, especially when the family that would otherwise have it were his enemies? Children generally seem to have been pawns in royal machinations--e.g., arranged marriages for political gain--why think that getting rid of inconvenient children was somehow off the table in a high-stakes power game?
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:10 AM   #41
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I thought Grants defence strategy was a pretty good one.

1) Discredit the most credible witness. He was relentless with his attacks on Thomas Moore. Character assassination.

2) He brings up the pre marriage contract between King Edward and Eleanor Butler. Thus claiming his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and her children have no right to the throne.

3) King Richard would then have no reason to kill the princes, they have no claim. So why would he kill them ?

I think in a court of law this would have caused enough doubt for an acquittal.

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Old 04-16-2019, 10:40 AM   #42
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Trying to stick to only the context of this book is difficult. Especially after reading Alison Weir's book " The Princes in the Tower " which I liked and highly recommend as the other side of the story. From the context of "The Daughter of Time" it's a book about the defence of King Richard lll. Do Grant\ Tey make a case ? I thought they came up with an interesting alternate view. I also agree that they also got me interested in finding out more about this period which I knew very little. If that was the point of the book to challenge one's thinking about history, then I think this is why it was considered one of the top 10 or so books. I think Grant playing the antagonistic approach was clever although his prickly personality could cloud the premise.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:20 AM   #43
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[...] 2) He brings up the pre marriage contract between King Edward and Eleanor Butler. Thus claiming his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and her children have no right to the throne.

3) King Richard would then have no reason to kill the princes, they have no claim. So why would he kill them ?
The House of York itself came to the throne via slightly doubtful lines. The Woodville house was prolific and swept into powerful positions when Elizabeth married Edward IV, gaining widespread influence. So while the marriage claim was cast into doubt, these powerful people remained and both they and their new husbands, wives and extended families would not be happy about the idea that they have suddenly lost their blood links to the throne.

Put all that together and I think it becomes clear that the boys, while they remained alive, remained a threat. This is demonstrated quite clearly by the case or Perkin Warbeck. Further evidence that only doubtful blood links are necessary to gain support for the throne also comes along in the form of Henry VII.

So if Richard was serious about keeping the throne, it is best that the boys should be gone. Best too, that they disappear while their legitimacy is in question. And simply disappearing means there are delays before the knowledge is widespread, and even then there is little of anything tangible for people to rally against. Or so goes my guesswork.


Edited to Add: It's worth noticing that the above can be true whether Richard is a villain seizing the throne from the rightful princes, or whether he is a dutiful man merely protecting the throne from illegitimate offspring.

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Old 04-16-2019, 01:00 PM   #44
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I thought Grants defence strategy was a pretty good one.

1) Discredit the most credible witness. He was relentless with his attacks on Thomas Moore. Character assassination.

2) He brings up the pre marriage contract between King Edward and Eleanor Butler. Thus claiming his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and her children have no right to the throne.

3) King Richard would then have no reason to kill the princes, they have no claim. So why would he kill them ?

I think in a court of law this would have caused enough doubt for an acquittal.
Is Grant a defense lawyer or a detective? Sure, a clever lawyer can make a case, and win it with the right jury--the defense lawyer's job isn't to find the truth, it's to defend the client. But Grant's supposed to be a detective looking for truth, and instead he too often is selective in what he decides to believe about a man whose face he likes.

I'm reading Weir now, and occasionally going back to Tey to see how some things match up. Tey glosses over the sudden execution of Hastings:

Quote:
‘Yes, according to the sainted More he [Hastings] was rushed down to the courtyard and beheaded on the nearest log.’
‘Rushed nothing,’ said Carradine disgustedly. ‘He was beheaded a week later. There’s a contemporary letter about it that gives the date. Moreover, Richard couldn’t have done it out of sheer vindictiveness, because he granted Hastings’ forfeited estates to his widow, and restored the children’s right of succession to them—which they had automatically lost.’
I'm not sure why the specific timing ("rushed") is so important to Grant and Carradine, but Weir says:

Quote:
All sources agree that Hastings was executed within minutes of his arrest, ‘suddenly without judgement’.
As to the matter of the forfeited estates being restored, Weir says:

Quote:
He [Richard] was anxious to convince his subjects that he was not the tyrant they believed him to be, that he only punished traitors when he had to, and that his vengeance did not extend to their families.
Weir's take makes perfect sense to me.

Per why the princes needed to be killed when they were already delegitimized, Weir talks about the Sanctuary plot:

Quote:
What we do know is that a plot was hatched in the Sanctuary, not to rescue Edward V – which the intriguers must have realised was impossible, but to spirit his sisters overseas. ... If anything happened to Edward and Richard, the Lady Elizabeth would in the eyes of many be the rightful Queen of England; abroad, she would be free to make a strategic marriage with one of a number of foreign princes who would be willing and eager to take up arms to restore her to her inheritance and so gain a crown.
Quote:
Ironically, by seeking to ensure the boys’ safety, the conspirators – including their own mother – had sealed their fate.
Tey, as far as I can recall, made no mention of this plot and how it might have affected Richard's plans for the princes.

That's as far as I've gotten in Weir (a little over halfway); I am finding it much more compelling and interesting than Tey.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:51 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
I agree with these points. I think that Tey wanted to explore both "how" history is constructed (e.g. myths, propaganda, biases, through the winner's eyes) as well as the "sources." She makes a point of Grant progressing through several different types of sources in his investigation as his interest in solving the mystery grows, i.e. children's history, popular history and scholarly history. Also, the title of the book asserts that time may separate fact from fiction in the future in its reference to Francis Bacon's quote: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookpossum View Post
To me the book was all about going to the primary sources and not to secondary sources, ie the documents of the time rather than reading and trusting history books as the sole source of any case you are trying to build.
Thank you - I find your points illuminating and very helpful. I was so distracted by Grant leaping to conclusions, and his lack of critical analysis, that it completely blinded me to what Tey was hoping to do with the novel. You’ve really increased my regard for both her and the book.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with gmw that she chose the wrong player for the part. To me, Grant simply didn’t act like a trained investigator. To add insult to injury, she had Carradine swallow it whole, when he was supposed to be academically trained in history. And Catlady calling out the ridiculous premise that Grant would put so much stock in a person’s face fits here too. Very galling

Authors have some obligation in terms of internal consistency, or it can break the spell for their readers - as it did for some of us. My guess is that since she had already created Grant, she decided to try and make it work with him, but it did compromise the believability.

However, Tey was human, after-all. This discussion certainly helps me make room for what she actually wanted to do, rather than just take the book at face value.

And I’ve started reading Singing Sands, and so far, I’m not bothered by the same issues with Grant. I enjoy him. So I really think having a police officer investigate Richard III just wasn’t the best choice for this book.

Last edited by Victoria; 04-16-2019 at 04:54 PM.
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