Yesterday I got a craving for some alternative universe Richard III fiction. I'd just finished reading my first Philippa Gregory novel, which I bought on iBooks when it was going cheap. I admit I enjoyed it and the author had the sense to end it before her heroine, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother of the Woodville tribe, started losing her husband and children. I've only ever read Rosemary Hawley Jarman tales with Jacquetta shown as a hag and a witch, an elderly woman instead of the middle-aged matron who had only recently had her last child, so it was an interesting change. Mind you, Gregory's heroine does have the Sight and has to keep refusing to do magic for people, having seen what happened to the herbalist who taught her the trade. And in the last scene, as Edward and her daughter are approaching the house, she is cheerfully grabbing a bottle of love potion out of storage... I'm not sure I'll read any more of her books, but I liked this one.
So. The craving. In past years I was reading one Richard III novel after another - Jarman, Sharon Penman and others - and the trouble with reading historical fiction about real people is that you know how it's going to end. It's particularly hard with Penman's novel because you keep saying, "No, Richard, you idiot! Don't pardon the bastard! He'll come back and bite you!" and of course, he does pardon the baddie... So it was a joy to read John M Ford's alternative universe novel, The Dragon Waiting, in which the world is just that bit different - nearly everyone is a pagan, due to something that happened hundreds of years ago, the Byzantine Empire is still around and running part of France and magic is real, so things might conceivably turn out differently, for England and for Richard.... And no, I'm not going to tell you how it ends. Read it.
I hauled out an old, battered copy I rescued from my dying library when a new government closed down my old school, and started rereading and found that I had forgotten enough to be able to enjoy it all over again. I might do a proper review when I've finished.
Meanwhile, I'm having a ball!