The Adventures of Alianore Audley

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in

Brian Wainwright,   The Adventures of Alianore Audley. BeWrite Books, UK, 2005.  ISBN 1-904492-78-9

This review was originally presented  to the Mini-Convention of the NSW Branch of the Richard III Society,  Bundanoon,  on 12 April 2008

One of my favourite Ricardian books is Brian Wainwright’s The Adventures of Alianore Audley.  Let me start with a word of warning, if you like your history serious, don’t read it.  On the cover it is described as “A wonderful romp set in 15th-century England”,  and it certainly is.  The author tells us that he wrote it as “way of light relief” while writing Within the Fetterlock, which is set in the time of Richard II (and which can also be highly recommended).

The book is portrayed as a Chronicle left by the fictitious Alianore Audley.  Alionore is the youngest child in a large family with members in both the Yorkist and Lancastrian camp during the War of the Roses.  Through their grandmother they even happen to be related to Edward IV and his siblings.  It starts off with her being present at the birth of the “obnoxious Tudor slimebag”, that is Henry VII.  This description on the first page of the text gives you an idea where the heroine’s sympathies lie and also of her style.  It also gives you a hint on what is to follow:  our heroine nearly always happens to be present when anything of note happens.  The author manages this by having Edward IV recruit her for his Secret Service.  In this capacity she is first send to France to win George of Clarence back during the fight with Warwick.  Later she manages to warn Edward about the Lancastrian plans before Tewkesbury.  She then gets send to Middleham to keep and eye on Richard and the North in general.  Thus the reader gets an eye witness report of Richard’s activities in the North and his later reign.  On Richard’s orders, she is involved in smuggling the young Princes from England to Burgundy disguised as girls.  During the Buckingham rebellion she just happens to be in Wales.  She and her husband survive Bosworth and even find themselves caught up in the Perkin Warbeck affair, though the author does not commit himself one way or the other.

By this technique the reader gets a first hand experience of all the important events of that period as well as a lively and unforgettable characterization of all the dramatis personae.  The author has a thorough understanding of the history of the era, which he packages in a style and language which appeals to modern readers.  The book will delight the experienced Ricardian as well as the novice.  I gave the book to my daughter to read, who thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot about our particular interest from it.  If I had anything to do with it, I would make it compulsory reading in schools!

If you interested in finding out more, visit Brian’s website The Yorkist Age.