‘He feels much more human than he usually does…’

I was very humbled to read the following review of The Order of the White Boar by Rachael on WordPress.

Rachael had had a bad week and on the Friday she tweeted: ‘Relaxing after a rotten week with some Bach, a cup of tea and ‘s ‘The Order of the White Boar’

No pressure there then!

Tentatively replying that I hoped the book wouldn’t make her week worse, I was delighted to receive her review in response. And even more delighted at her insightful views on, not only the four main child characters (sorry, Elen, your time will come…), but also (Duke) Richard himself.

After Rachael’s useful warning about spoilers, she says, ‘One of the things I liked most about this book was that it takes an angle on Richard III that I’ve never really seen covered in detail before . . . In adult historical fiction, we usually encounter him as a loyal brother, a soldier or . . . a romantic hero. In Marchant’s novel, however, we see Richard through the eyes of an adolescent; as a master, as a father, as a family man and as a decent, kind-hearted adult . . . He feels much more human than he usually does in historical fiction and it was wonderful to read.’

It was always my aim to show Richard in his ordinary life, as a real person, not only as the ‘last warrior king’ of tourism sites or the over-romanticized hero of some novels, and it’s encouraging when readers feel The Order of the White Boar has achieved that.


In the spring the sequel, ‘The King’s Man’, will be published [edit: it was published 26 May 2018 and can be found at mybook.to/TheKingsMan]. It carries on from the end of The Order and catapults both Richard and Matthew into a different world, one that is alien to Matthew, if not so much to Richard. Will Matthew come to see Richard in a different way? Not just as a master, a father, a family man?

In Chapter 2 of The Order Matt asks Roger, ‘Is he so great a warrior then?’ That is the profession that Richard entered when his brother became King – that and administrator, often in difficult circumstances. As Richard himself says in The King’s Man, ‘I was bred in war . . .’

Richard also asks, after the tense and dangerous days at Northampton and Stony Stratford, ‘Perhaps I seem a different man in these days to the one you’ve known before?’

It may seem odd, but after writing those scenes, it came to mind they were like those ‘take your child to work days’ that sometimes occur. When a child gets to see their parent (or, indeed, when an adult sees their spouse) in their professional setting for the first time: when that parent or partner is the efficient, effective worker or manager, perhaps presenting a very different persona to that seen at home, in a more domestic setting.

It also brings to mind something once said by a great Ricardian, Jeremy Potter, in his thought-provoking book Good King Richard?: ‘Tell me what you think of Richard III, and I will tell you what you are.’


Perhaps how I see King Richard and interpret his known actions does say more about me than about him. But, equally, what do the conclusions of traditionalist historians such as David Starkey and Alison Weir say about them?

To get a little ahead of myself, when the rumour of the murder of two boys in the Tower of London is told to Matthew, the teller states, ‘My uncle says this would be the next sensible step. He says he would do it himself if he were in the King’s place.’

Who does this tell us more about? The King – or the uncle?


Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:





My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

Instagram: AlexMarchantAuthor

About alexmarchantblog

A Ricardian since a teenager, and following stints as an archaeologist and in publishing, Alex now lives and works in King Richard’s own country, not far from his beloved York and Middleham
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1 Response to ‘He feels much more human than he usually does…’

  1. Pingback: New year, new book… | The Order of the White Boar

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